Professor Alice Ming-Lin Chong is Professor and Associate Head at the Department of Applied Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong (CityU). She has been the Associate Dean (Student Life and Learning) of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences from 2005 to 2010. Her research areas include social gerontology, end of life issues, as well as teaching and learning. She has published over 90 academic articles and presented more than 80 papers in international and regional conferences.
Professor Chong participates actively in various community and public services. She received the Medal of Honor by the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2013 for her contribution to the promotion of social capital and the wellbeing of the elderly. She is also a great teacher, and has been awarded the Teaching Excellent Award by CityU and the very competitive Hong Kong wide University Grant Committee (UGC) Teaching Award in 2013.
Perceptual difference on work relation qualities between frail older people and their live-in foreign domestic helpers
In many industrialized societies including Hong Kong, there is an increasing trend to employ foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) as paid caregivers to take care of older people suffering from physical and/or cognitive impairments. The elder-FDH relationship is an intriguing topic because of its very unique nature: it lies in the border between formal work relationship in a work setting and emotionally close relationship similar to kinship, because the FDHs are co-residing with the elders.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 123 dyads of frail elders (65+, mildly or moderately impaired physically and/or cognitively) and their foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to examine the dyad’s perceived quality of their work relation. Six dimensions of work relation were examined, including instrumental support, emotional support, affect-based trust, cognition-based trust, social attraction and task attraction.
There were 81.3% female elders, mean age was 84.93 years (SD = 6.29). All FDHs were female, mean age was 37.45 years (SD = 8.24), majority (78.9%) from Indonesia, and working for the current family for an average of 2.58 years (SD = 2.47).
Paired t-tests revealed that FDHs tended to claim that they provided more instrument (t = 2.58, p < 0.05) and emotional supports (t = 15.57, p < 0.01), compared to that perceived by the elders. Trust of FDHs towards the elders was more likely affect-based (t = 4.23, p < 0.01), while trust of the elders towards FDHs was more likely cognition-based (t = 3.00, p < 0.01). Social attraction, but not task attraction, was perceived as higher in FDHs (t = 5.41, p < 0.01), compared to the elders. The findings reveals significant discrepancies in terms of perception of nearly all work relation qualities between the elders and their FDHs, suggesting possible misunderstanding or mismatch.