Retired tailor Leung Bun is remarkably upbeat considering the weight on his shoulders. At 79, he suffers from back pains and high-blood pressure. Yet he has been the primary caregiver for his mother-in-law, who is 99, and his wife, Ho Sing-wah, who has dementia. The symptoms emerged last year, when Ho became jealous and prone to emotional outbursts. Reluctantly, he placed his mother-in-law in a private nursing home in Causeway Bay, a 15-minute walk from their flat. 'My wife was really upset when I placed her mother in the home last year. She feels I have abandoned her mother who had sacrificed so much to bring up our three children. I visit her every other day, but I still feel sad. Incontinent and unable to walk, my mother-in-law is bedridden now,' Leung says. 'There's just one person taking care of 10 elderly residents in the home. But seeing my wife's condition deteriorate, I knew I couldn't take care of two people.' Leung can't count on help from his children. 'My daughter emigrated to Canada nine years ago, and came back only once. The other two children have a busy life. In the past they brought our grandchildren to visit at festivals, but they seldom come home now. I don't blame them. Hong Kong is a busy place.' An optimist who brushes aside his worries with a smile, Leung says the hardest was coping by his wife's change in temperament. 'She suspects me of making passes at women whenever I get near them. I had to stop attending most social functions to allay her suspicions. Around half a year ago, she began to have difficulty tending to herself,' Leung says. 'We mostly stay at home now.' Leung and Ho are among the rising number of households where elderly couples must take care of each other with little if any support from their offspring. Census and Statistics Department figures show that there are now nearly 200,000 'double-elderly' households, a 33 per cent rise from five years ago. Assistant executive director of Against Elderly Abuse, Roy Lam Man-chiu, says many younger people are preoccupied with work and entertainment, and neglect their ailing parents. 'Unlike the previous generation, they do not attach importance to filial piety. Many people are alienated from their parents now.'