“I am not saying it was better or worse than the Iranian culture, but Canadian culture regarding families is different from what I am used to.” says Azi. “I was told that Canadian families do not support their children as they become adults, they need to get their own jobs. In Iran, parents can support their children into their forties, and the adult children take care of the parents more too. Last year my father was sick and I went home to take care of him. That is just normal. I prefer that part of the Iranian culture.”
Senad remembers visiting a man who was living in a Seniors’ residence. “I asked him ‘Where are your children?’ He said that they live in their own houses in Calgary. He said that actually he preferred to live on his own. Where we come from, this is not the way it is and it is hard for me to understand.”
It is the same for Ruback. “South Asian people are very bonded with their parents” he says.
Bo says “In the Netherlands the homes are too small or there are too many stairs for many seniors to live with their parents, plus most people are working full time. Also, the seniors value their independence. There are traditional residences for seniors that are more accessible than the average Dutch house, but there is also a movement toward having community type residences that are all on one level with no stairs at the threshold and which incorporate older and younger residents as well as medical services, shopping and pharmacies, and with help at the call of a button.”
Senad says “Another thing that I notice in North America and I can’t understand is all the divorce here. In my home town, 50,000 people, there were maybe 2, 3 couples divorced, that’s it. I tell people we don’t buy love, we build it. And divorce happens the most during the worst economies. I have heard that since the recent downturn we are having to get extra lawyers from Ontario to help out with all the divorces. We always say that whatever happens in a marriage, it all can be recovered. We have such a high divorce rate here. That’s something that our friends here from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, we are all surprised about this.”