East Meets West: Asian Elders’ Experiences of Aging-In-Place in a Western Country

Aging in place' is a fundamental principle in current ageing policy. With the growing phenomenon of transnational families, increasing numbers of older people from Asia have migrated in late-life to join their adult children living in Western countries; however their experience of aging in a new environment is under-explored. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 40 Chinese, Indian and Korean elders aged 60 to 90 years who have migrated to New Zealand in later lives, this paper investigates the elders' aging experience, in particular what is needed to enable positive aging-in-place for this population. Contrary to traditional filial practices of inter-generational co-residency, some elders in this study are living in close proximity to their children but in separate households. Inter-generational conflict is not the only reason for the elders' pursuit of independent living. Rather, it is also a reflection of the elders' shifting expectation of filial responsibility from their children as they navigate between Eastern and Western cultures. The study suggests that Asian elders' ability to age-in-place is affected by the elders' interactions with multiple environments including housing, family, community and government resources. The majority of participants stress the importance of maintaining core Eastern values of inter-generational inter-dependency, while they also adopt Western ideologies of autonomy and self-reliance, and use of state welfare assistance and community resources. However, barriers to service utilization and community participation impair elders' ability to positively age in place. Findings highlight the need to ensure that ethnic elders' needs are met in policy and service design.



Author Information
Elsie Ho, University of Auckland , New Zealand
Vivian Cheung, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Ell Lee, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Suhina Kaur, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Paper Information
Conference: AGen2018
Stream: Aging and Gerontology

This paper is part of the AGen2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
Full Paper
View / Download the full paper in a new tab/window

Posted by amp21