The Harsh Realities of Grandparenting in Vietnam

In North America, the time comes for many older people to settle down into a quiet life without the distraction of younger generations.

But, according to Vietnam News, The National English Language Daily, 60+ adults have become a national generation of babysitters for their grandchildren.

Outside of maternity leave, the parents are out working and can't spend time at home. The dreams of the golden years for the grandparents are replaced by long days of feeding children, playing with them, buying food and cooking meals.

Thu Trang wrote for Vietnam News: "My mother is not alone. All elderly people in my neighborhood take care of their grandchildren."

Some grandparents offer to look after their grandparents instead of hiring someone, because they don't have confidence in anyone else.

Problems arise when the elderly raise their grandparents. At their age many suffer from high blood pressure and rheumatism, leaving them too tired to take care of grandchildren.

The news source quoted Chairman of the Ha Noi Elderly People's Association: "Loving your descendants and wanting to share their work is a long-standing tradition in Vietnam. But the elderly should have time to enjoy their old age and take care of themselves."

In North America, grandparents have the advantage of living in safe and healthy Assisted Living or Continuing Care residences.