Caring for Elderly in Asia: Long-Term Care in the Familial Context


As countries face population aging, long-term care becomes a pivotal concern; with expectations that the demand for the provision of health and supportive services increases with a growing elderly population. It is a near universal that the family plays an intrinsic role in long-term care for the elderly, however, long term care has increasingly been examined with relation to institutionalization. On the one hand formal long term care institutions are criticized to have disruptive effects on kin relations and social networks (Mold et al. 2005), while on the other hand there are contrastive findings highlighting positive effects of institutionalization such as greater independence and a revalued lifestyle in the concept of the “third age” on the part of the elderly (Henrard 1996: 668). Nonetheless, majority of older persons are shown to prefer to live in the community rather than in formal care institutions in later life (Feder, Komisar, and Niefeld 2000; Costa-Font 2009). 

This international conference focusing on the care and well-being of elderly in Asia aims to explore issues relating to the ensuring of quality and adequacy of long-term care in the familial context.The preference of aging in place has long been a feature of Asia. Long-term care for the elderly has been bolstered by cultural values such as filial piety which has placed demands on children to provide care towards ageing parents. In some countries, governments have reinforced this care pattern through old-age policies which have reinscribed the family as the primary site of eldercare. However, much less is known about how the state has ensured quality long-term care for the elderly the family.

In the familial context, the organization of care, including care for the elderly, is largely left in the hands of women in the family. Economic and social changes, however, have lent to shifts in the organization of care in the family. In the more affluent countries in Asia, long-term care has increasingly become transferred to paid workers, especially with growing numbers of women joining the labour force. Falling fertility rates in the Asian region would also signal fewer caregivers for the elderly. The quality of long-term care provisions, encompassing a broad range of support services from personal care, healthcare and social services and rehabilitative care, however, is complicated by a range of other factors from eligibility, payment/insurance schemes, and regulatory mechanisms to the individuals’ supportive and palliative care needs.

This international conference invites papers from diverse perspectives in deepening our understanding on these issues. Below are some suggested questions:

• How have sociodemographic changes in the family impacted on government role in long-term care?
• What are the barriers older men and women face in accessing long-term care in the family?
• What barriers do caregivers face in providing long-term care for the elderly?
• To what extent does the cultural value of filial piety impact differently on men and women as ‘carers’ and the kind of quality of care they provide to their elderly?
• How does the cultural meaning and social practice of filial cohabitation express themselves in urban areas versus rural areas and impact on the quality of long-term care provided to the elderly?
• How does the patrilocal principle of filial obligation impact similarly or differently on intergenerational support and long-term care in different Asian socieities?
• How can the state, non-profit and businesses partner to play a role in ensuring quality and adequacy of long term care in the familial context?




Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (300 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words for submission by 30 July 2015. Please send all proposals in word document and for a copy of the submission form, click here.

Successful applicants will be notified by end August 2015 and will be required to send in a completed draft paper (5,000 – 8,000 words) by 15 February 2016.

DATE : 1-2 March 2016
VENUE : Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
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