Dr BAI Xue is Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Social Sciences and Director of Institute of Active Ageing at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She also serves as Programme Leader of the BA programme in Applied Ageing Studies and Service Management. Dr Bai’s research focus on three interrelated areas in social gerontology: 1) intergenerational relationships and care arrangements in ageing families, 2) active ageing and subjective well-being in later life, and 3) social policy and social care in ageing societies. Dr Bai’s work has been widely published in renowned international journals, including The Gerontologist, Ageing & Mental Health, Ageing & Society, BMC Geriatrics, and Health & Social Care in the Community. She has been awarded over HK$20 million external funding for ageing-related research and programmes in the capacity of PI or Co-PI in the past five years. She has also been actively involved in a number of important policy projects, the findings of which effectively inform the development of retirement policy, long-term care and carer services in Hong Kong. Currently, she is an appointed member of Social Welfare Advisory Committee advising the HKSAR Government on social welfare policy matters.
A mixed methods study of intergenerational care planning among ageing Chinese families in Hong Kong
Xue Bai, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Chang Liu, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Ranran He, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Tongling Xu, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Care planning before the onset of intensive care needs can increase families’ ability to manage caregiving crises and cope with care transitions. However, future care planning has not been substantially examined in a family context. Integrating the model of Preparation for Future Care Needs and a family systems perspective, this study investigated patterns of intergenerational care planning among Chinese intergenerational pairs. Employing a mixed-methods research design, this study comprised simultaneously conducted “QUAN-Qual” parts. The quantitative investigation examined the typological structure of intergenerational care planning patterns and qualitative interviews were conducted to triangulate, interpret, and enrich quantitative findings.
A questionnaire survey was carried out with 213 pairs of ageing parents (aged 50 years and over) and their adult children who were or intended to be caregivers in Hong Kong. Latent profile analysis was used to identify the pair-level person-centered patterns of future care preparation. In parallel with the quantitative survey, individual interviews were conducted with 60 ageing parent-adult child pairs. Thematic analysis was conducted to analyze the qualitative data. Quantitative and qualitative results were integrated to examine if the qualitative findings supported the quantitative results, and the most frequently emergent themes of each profile were further summarized.
Concerning the typological structure underlying care planning patterns, three patterns were discovered: filial-maximal, dyadic-moderate, and filial-minimal. Profile 1 contained 21.6% of intergenerational pairs that were comparatively active in care planning. Profile 2 contained 68.5% of intergenerational pairs that had a moderate preparation level. Profile 3 contained approximately 9.9% of pairs, which demonstrated a relatively higher level of avoidance on considering the need of care preparation and engaged less in concrete planning activities. The findings also indicated that although older adults across three profiles demonstrated a similar level of awareness to prepare for future care, their engagement in the concrete planning activities were driven by their children’s awareness and preparation toward future care.
Qualitative findings supported quantitative findings in that the preparation patterns of intergenerational pairs can also be classified into three similar categories. Moreover, qualitative findings enriched the understanding on the intergenerational collaboration or incompliance within each profile. In Profile 1, variations were found in who took the lead in the family teamwork of care planning: 1) adult child-led intergenerational care planning, 2) ageing parent-led intergenerational care planning, and 3) social care dependents. In Profile 2, multiple reasons were identified for delayed preparation: 1) perceived life uncertainties, and 2) perceived and expected scarcity in resources. In Profile 3, high avoidance and low level of preparation were found to be triggered by a confluence of multiple reasons, including: 1) the complicated intergenerational relationships, and 2) heavy living burden. The qualitative findings enriched the knowledge of intergenerational interaction during care planning process.
The study findings will contribute to the in-depth understanding of care planning experiences among Asian ageing families, enhance professionals’ and service providers’ awareness of intergenerational care planning in family contexts, and inform targeted policies and programmes to alleviate unpreparedness for eldercare through intergenerational care planning which can be more effective than unilateral preparation.
Funding: This work was supported by the General Research Fund from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Grant number: 15603818).