Preferences for Long-term Care Among Older Adults in China

In this presentation, I review long-term care challenges facing China in light of its aging population, increased longevity, growing disease burden, and low fertility. This “perfect storm” of demographic factors have put into sharp relief the urgency to formulate policies that serve frail older adults in a nation where filial piety remains a robust if fraying cultural norm. The perspectives of older people are rarely considered in such discussions, despite that fact that they will be the consumers of the evolving long-term care system in China. To address this issue, I use national data from 10,000 individuals 60+ in urban and rural China to assess their preferred source of care and willingness to use long-term care facilities—focusing on differences by urban/rural location, family size, the presence of sons, and the economic success of children. I conclude by discussing the importance of economic resources as a factor implicitly determining the availability and quality of formal care for older adults in China.