Family structure and support for the oldest old

Family structure and support for the oldest old: A cross-sectional study in Dujiangyan, China

Authors: Ren, Xiaohui; Meng, Hongdao; Liu, Chaojie; Wu, Jinhui; Dong, Birong; Li, Ningxiu

Objective: In China, adult children have traditionally provided support for their aged parents. This model of care is increasingly challenged by the decline of the extended family. Recently, China’s decades-long one-child policy has eased. We examine the association of family size and composition with family support for nonagenarians and centenarians.

Methods: Data were obtained through a questionnaire survey of 619 nonagenarians and centenarians in Dujiangyan and were analyzed by chi-square tests, Student t tests, and multivariate logistic regression models.

Results: This study revealed that an increased number of offspring might provide financial support for older people, but this does not necessarily translate into physical and emotional care.

Conclusion: It is clear that although alternative sources of support for older people are increasingly needed, in China the family will continue to play an important role in supporting older people.