Survey on How Only Children Take Care of Aged Parents

October 8, 2018
Editor: Wu Shanshan

Many regions in China have recently introduced paid leave so that only children are able to take care of their aged parent(s) or parent(s)-in-law.

Even so, these adult children still face many difficulties such as taking their parents to see doctors, especially in cases where the couples are both only children.

Recently, China Youth Daily Social Investigation Center and polling website Wenjuan co-conducted a survey among 2,003 young people from 18 to 35 to learn more about the issue.

According to the survey, some 91.1 percent of the respondents worried that they could not accompany their parents, whilst 29.9 percent were greatly concerned. Cross-analysis shows that only children (92.6 percent) are more worried than other respondents.

The survey indicated that lack of time (68.1 percent) was considered to be the main difficulty in accompanying parents, followed by the absence of enough helping hands at home (50.7 percent), lack of income (47.5 percent), remote distance (42.1 percent), insufficient medical care and nursing resources (25.8 percent), and difficulty in obtaining medical insurance reimbursement (14.4 percent).

"The parents of young people born in the 80s are about 65 years old now. What they expect most is that their children can give them mental comfort when they need it," said Zhang Baoyi, director of the Institute of Sociology in Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences.

"But in the coming few years, they will need their children close at hand to take care of them. These parents will rely more on their children both physically and mentally, which would mean increased pressure for their only children."

The survey showed that, 53.2 percent of the respondents took their parents to do regular medical tests. Some 53.4 percent helped them find suitable nursing homes or institutions.

Some 52.5 percent managed their finances to save for parental care; 32.8 percent lived with their parents to accompany them; 26.2 percent visited their parents during vacations.

Some 86.8 percent of the respondents expected the government to help them take care of their parents.

Some 58.4 percent of the respondents hoped that their employers would give them more humane care, and allow young employees to ask for leave to accompany their parents in time of need.

Some 53.1 percent of respondents recommended the establishment of a one-child family pension subsidy system, and 48.2 percent recommended the implementation of parental-care leave for only children.

Through the development of IT, parents nowadays can communicate with their children in a more convenient way, which will decrease their physical pressure.

For the only child generation, relying on themselves to take care of their parents is hard, according to Zhang.

"We advocate the implementation of collectivization and the finalization of large-scale elderly care, which means setting up large scale elderly care in communities and at home instead of sending elderly people to nursing homes."

Zhang thinks that such an implementation could further alleviate and share the pressure of every only child, so that they could have more energy to work and take care of the next generation.

(Source: Xinhua/ translated and edited by Women of China)

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