||Elder care is a concern for adult children with aging parents in Asia, America or
practically anywhere else in the world. Yet, it is a particularly acute issue for
members of the Asian-American community due, in no small measure, to the profound
influences of the Asian cultural value of filial piety and acculturation. After all,
filial piety dictates an expectation grounded in moral principles that children must
care for their parents in old age; however, as Asian immigrants and their children
face acculturation, they are exposed to new and different American cultural influences
relating to parental elder care.
Drawing on this author’s personal family story as inspiration and as an anecdote,
this paper explores the ways in which the notions of filial piety and acculturation,
ostensibly at odds, affect Asian-Americans’ expectations and behaviors relating to
elder care responsibilities for aging immigrant parents. In doing so, this exploration
seeks to inform questions about the extent to which filial piety and acculturation
create cultural conflict in managing cultural expectations of elder care, and how
such conflict might be reconciled.
Based on a review of the literature discussed in this paper, filial piety and acculturation
may not necessarily be at odds, based on the idea that expectations of caregiving
affecting Asian-Americans are evolving in ways that reflect the dual influences of
traditional Asian culture and American culture on both parents and adult children
in ways seemingly compatible to both. As a result, it seems fair to suggest that Asian-Americans
can gain a sense of comfort in knowing that elder care need not be the subject of
cultural conflict and angst because cultural expectations of care are evolving as
their cultural values are evolving.