Christine A. Walsh, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean Research and Partnerships, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. Her research interests are diverse and include violence across the lifespan and action oriented, community-based research to improve the lives of marginalized populations including vulnerable older adults, those impacted by poverty and homelessness, involved in the justice system, and Indigenous Peoples.
Understanding Age Friendliness from a Chinese Cultural Perspective: A Case Study of Guangzhou, China
- a) Objectives
Making communities more “age-friendly” has been an ongoing trend globally since the WHO (2007) launched its Age-Friendly Cities project. Although China has the largest number of older adults, research on implementing Age-Friendly Cities guidelines in China is scant.
- b) Methods
We used a multiple-method, multi-stage community-based approach to assess and develop recommendations for age-friendliness in Guangzhou, China. First, we developed a quantitative survey instrument using the WHO age-friendly framework (2007), which was modified to be locally and culturally relevant. The survey was administered to adults 50 years of age and older (N = 409) in four distinct communities in Guangzhou by trained research assistants. Descriptive analysis was completed across items in the 8 domains and comparisons were made across the four communities. Second, the results of the analysis were presented to older community-dwelling older adults in eight focus groups (N=82) and three groups of key stakeholders (policy developers, street officers and social workers) (N=35) to gather further interpretation and feedback in order to develop locally-relevant recommendations.
- c) Results and Implications
Across each of the eight domains, older residents and key stakeholders offered various and differing suggestions for creating local age-friendly policies.
- d) Conclusion
Study findings reinforce the importance of socio-cultural contexts for evaluating and implementing age-friendly communities. The diverse views, perspectives and expectations regarding age friendliness among older residents and key stakeholders in this study, suggest the need for increased communication among these groups to determine common goals for age-friendliness. The results of this study have implications for policy makers, strategists, and professional practitioners engaged in age-friendly work in China domestically and internationally.