Living arrangements of the elderly in Taiwan: Qualitative evidence
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Qualitative data from a series of focus group discussions with elderly and adults with elderly parents in Taiwan provide detailed information on the living arrangements of the 2 generations, complementing quantitative data from surveys. Co-residence of elderly parents with a married son has been the predominant ideal form and is supported by cultural values. The preference for co-residence also involves numerous practical considerations related to the elderly's needs in their old age and the services they can provice for the co-resident younger couple. The elderly's greatest concern and, strongest motive for co-residence is their health. Married daughters are traditionally perceived as belonging to their husband's family after marriage. Thus, living with a married daughter is seen as an offense against the rights of the husband's family and is largely proscribed. Under circumstances of good health and financial prosperity many elderly participants expressed interest in the freedom and privacy that independent living confers. One surprising finding from the focus groups was the saliency and crucial status of co-eating as part of the co-residential living arrangement. Mostly negative views were expressed regarding institutionalized living but with some ethnic differences apparent. To a limited extent, the focus group discussions also provide some sights on social changes which might affect living arrangements of the elderly at present and in the future.
Key WordsTaiwan living arrangements focus groups elderly
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