Aging in Chinese Society
A Holistic Approach to the Experience of Aging in Taiwan and Singapore
Routledge – 1992 – 125 pages
This intriguing book details the impact of rapid cultural change on the elderly in two predominantly Chinese societies--Taiwan and Singapore. As Taiwan and Singapore become more urban and industrial, and large, extended families shrink and become more isolated, experiences of older family members become very different from those in traditional Chinese society. Aging in Chinese Society describes these changes and discusses how the elderly cope with them. Interviews with Chinese elders and consultants knowledgeable about their situations, along with data from an extensive survey of the aging population conducted by the government of Singapore, illustrate how many aspects of modern life are threatening the quality of life of the elderly. Emphasizing the importance of the cultural context in which attitudes and values are formed, this book raises questions about how modernization has affected the aging experience in the United States as well as in China.Aging in Chinese Society develops a holistic approach to aging which emphasizes understanding the aging experience from the perspective of the elderly themselves. Brief stories of individual experience are included to supplement information from interviews and surveys and to illustrate ways in which elders respond to change. Geographical, historical, and cultural contexts of the aging experience in Taiwan and Singapore are considered, as are interactions of personality, culture, and religion in the quality of life of individual Chinese elders. Chapters focus on topics such as the nature of the cultural changes which have taken place in Singapore and Taiwan in the last forty years; changes in the role, status, and function in the family of the elderly; and responses of the governments of the two countries to the changing situation of Chinese elders. Aging in Chinese Society provides helpful and interesting material for gerontologists and psychologists interested in ethnicity, aging, and the impact of cultural change on the experiences of the elderly. Everyone interested in a holistic approach to the interactions of personality and culture or who wish to understand the importance of the holistic approach in working with the elderly will also find much valuable information.