Skip to main content

From Red to Gray: The New Older China

According to a United Nations study, developing countries such as China are seeing a rapid graying of their population that is out-pacing the rates seen in developed countries.

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs reported that close to 13% of China’s population is 60 and older. A recent BBC news article reports on the growing number of older persons in China and the corresponding strain felt by adult children who have to choose between fulfilling their filial or professional/personal duties.


In China, the one-child policy implemented in 1979 means there are fewer adult children available to care for aging parents at home.


Developers in China see this as an opportunity to turn senior care, once a practice of filial piety, into a lucrative industry. Retirement communities in major cities are proposed as viable solutions to the problem of elders growing older without children to care for them. While developers stand to gain financially, both the adult child/children and the aging parent(s) stand to lose.


Within a cultural context, a child who feels the need to pursue her career may feel guilty for sending her parent to live in a retirement village. For the aging parent, being far from her home community can generate feelings of isolation and abandonment by her child.


As gray becomes the new red in China, who will care for the aging parents?


By: Julie N. Thai (GeriPal International Correspondent)

Comments

Paul Tatum said…
Fascinating.
See also Harvard Business Review for more on this. Survey of 1000 Chinese businesswomen: 95% have caregiver responsibilities for elder parent and most Childcare as well.

http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/hewlett/2011/04/eldercare_childcare_and_the_st.html?referral=00563&cm_mmc=email-_-newsletter-_-daily_alert-_-alert_date&utm_source=newsletter_daily_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alert_date

Popular posts from this blog

The Dangers of Fleet Enemas

The dangers of oral sodium phosphate preparations are fairly well known in the medical community. In 2006 the FDA issued it’s first warning that patients taking oral sodium phosphate preparations are at risk for potential for acute kidney injury. Two years later, over-the-counter preparations of these drugs were voluntarily withdrawn by the manufacturers.  Those agents still available by prescription were given black box warnings mainly due to acute phosphate nephropathy that can result in renal failure, especially in older adults. Despite all this talk of oral preparations, little was mentioned about a sodium phosphate preparation that is still available over-the-counter – the Fleet enema.

Why Oral Sodium Phosphate Preparations Are Dangerous 

Before we go into the risks of Fleet enemas, lets spend just a couple sentences on why oral sodium phosphate preparations carry significant risks. First, oral sodium phosphate preparations can cause significant fluid shifts within the colon …

Dying without Dialysis

There is a terrific article in this weeks Journal of Pain and Symptom Management by Fliss Murtagh of King's College in London about the epidemiology of symptoms for patients with advanced renal failure who die without dialysis.  This study is important because while we know that patients with advanced renal failure have a limited life expectancy and the average age of initiation of hemodialysis is increasing, we know little about the alternatives to hemodialysis.  Specifically, we know nothing about symptoms affecting quality of life among patients who elect not to start dialysis (so called "conservative management" - is this the best label?).  This article provides a terrific counterpoint to the article in last years NEJM showing that nursing home residents who initiated hemodialysis tended to die and decline in function (see GeriPal write up here). 

The study authors followed patients with the most advanced form of chronic kidney disease (the new name for renal failu…

Does “compassionate deception” have a place in palliative care?

by: Olivia Gamboa (@Liv_g_g)

There is broad consensus in the medical community that lying to patients is unethical.  However, in the care of patients with dementia, the moral clarity of this approach blurs.  In her recent New Yorker article, “The Memory House,”  Larissa MacFarquhar provides an excellent portrait of the common devices of artifice, omission and outright deception that are frequently deployed in the care of patients with dementia.  She furthermore explores the historical and ethical underpinnings of the various approaches used in disclosing (or not) information to patients living with dementia.

Ms. MacFarquhar introduces the idea of “compassionate deception,” or the concept that withholding truths, or even promoting outright falsehoods, is a reasonable and even ethical choice for those caring for patients with dementia.  To the extent that it helps a person with dementia feel happier and calmer, allowing them to believe in a gentler reality (one in which, say, their spo…