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.
Future care planning by aging Chinese families amid the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest in Hong Kong
Xue Bai, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Joanne Luk, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Yanyee Kwong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Future care planning by aging families reduces anxiety by enabling proactive coping with care transitions and preventing unwanted care arrangements. However, little is understood regarding how the environmental uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has intersected with major social unrest to affect aging families’ proactive coping with the potential stressor of increasing care needs. This study explored the attitudes and experiences of aging Chinese families in Hong Kong in terms of future care planning amid COVID-19 and the 2019–2020 social unrest in the territory.
A qualitative research design was employed, and semistructured dyadic interviews were conducted with 60 older parent–adult child pairs and 33 individual adult children from September 2020 to February 2021 by using a purposive sampling strategy.
The findings indicate that families plan as a unit for the care needs of older adults during unpredictable events. Compared with their older parents, adult children seemed to be more proactive in planning and preparing for care in terms of health and personal care as well as in the financial, emotional, and instrumental domains. We observed that aging families were committed to older adults’ well-being in uncertain social and health-related environments. In addition, ambivalent attitudes toward future care were observed between generations when planning in anticipation of family migration or relocation.
This study highlights a) the influence of environmental uncertainty on intergenerational care planning during a time of social unrest and uncertain health; b) the multidimensionality of care planning consisting of attitudinal and behavioral components; and c) the importance of adult children participating in care planning, and the prospect of long-distance care provision and future strategies. Our findings may be useful for those in other Asian societies and beyond who are engaged in future care planning and have implications for related service developments toward proactive and holistic approaches to care planning.
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).