Effects of Care Arrangement on the Age of Institutionalization among Community-dwelling Chinese Older Adults

Jing Wang, Qing Yang, Bei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Early and unnecessary institutionalization of older adults can be a heavy burden on the country and taxpayers. It is crucial to understand factors impacting the age of institutionalization of older adults in China. This study examined care arrangements of older adults in China and the relationship between these arrangements and the age of relocation to long-term care facilities (institutionalization). Results show that care arrangements affect the age of institutionalization among community-dwelling Chinese older adults. Those who were primarily cared for by sons and daughter-in-laws tended to be institutionalized at a significantly later age compared to those who were cared for by their spouses. Those who were primarily cared for by other relatives and friends, by domestic helpers, and those with no caregivers tended to have significantly earlier institutionalization compared to those who were cared for by their spouses. However, the number of older adults living in empty nest families is increasing rapidly. Traditional family support for older adults has been shrinking due to fewer children, out-migration of adult children from rural to urban areas, and increased employment of women in China. There is an acute shortage of competent and qualified elder care workers. Most Chinese domestic helpers started their work with limited or even no training, risking the safety of themselves and their employers. In addition to increasing and optimizing the investment in the elder care industry, legal protection and policy support for the elderly and domestic helpers are urgently needed to address these key issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Aging and Social Policy
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020



  • Care arrangement
  • domestic helpers
  • institutionalization
  • long-term care
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Gerontology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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