WeChat Speaks: Chinese Say “No” to Nursing Homes

In our efforts to further explore China’s elderly challenge, we launched a WeChat survey over the last week. We received a total of 167 responses, with a generally even split between the two genders (54% female and 46% male). The survey was delivered in Chinese, and as such all respondents are either ethnically Chinese or have at least an intimate understanding of the language and culture.

Chinese People Don't Want Nursing Homes
A breakdown of 160 respondents into the preferred living conditions for their parents.

Results: Many Say “No” to Nursing Homes

Through the survey we found that an overwhelming majority of respondents wanted to either have their parents move in with them (45%) or have their parents live independently (47%), with only 2% of respondents who wanted their parents to move to a nursing home.

The results demonstrate the strong persistence of traditional Chinese family values: the reluctance to send the elderly to nursing homes. This may stem from a negative perception of the quality of care and cost of such assisted living centers.

Whilst these family values remain strong it is interesting to note that alongside this a mindset shift is occurring with a greater tolerance for parents to live independently. Just a couple of decades ago, it was common for up to 3 generations to live in the same household. Now, it seems that there is movement towards the desire in both the elderly and their kids to live separately.

What Do You Think?

While the negative perception of nursing homes exists, the reality is that actors are looking to drive change in this area and develop nursing homes, which are accessible, affordable, and trustworthy.

We have several theories on the causes of the shifting family attitudes among the Chinese, and will delve into these complexities as we continue to research the elderly challenge in the coming weeks.

But we are very keen to know why you feel Chinese individuals are not ready to embrace nursing homes for their parents, or, for our western audience, if you feel the attitude towards them is different? Are nursing homes a last resort for people? Or are they starting to have a prominent role in the lives of the elderly population?

Let us know in the comments below what you think about the trend towards independent elderly living.

This article was prepared from survey data and written by Tim Wang, Research Analyst at Collective Responsibility.

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