The Chinese tradition of filial piety, which prioritized family-based care for the elderly, is transitioning and elders can no longer necessarily rely on their children. The purpose of this study was to identify community support for the elderly, and analyze the factors that affect which model of old-age care elderly people dwelling in communities prefer.
Methods: We used the database “Health and Social Support of Elderly Population in Community”. Questionnaires were issued in 2013, covering 3 districts in Beijing. A group of 1036 people over 60 years in age were included in the study. The respondents’ profile variables were organized in Andersen’s Model and community healthcare resource factors were added. A multinomial logistic model was applied to analyze the factors associated with the desired aging care models.
Results: Cohabiting with children and relying on care from family was still the primary desired aging care model for seniors (78 %), followed by living in institutions (14.8 %) and living at home independently while relying on community resources (7.2 %). The regression result indicated that predisposing, enabling and community factors were significantly associated with the aging care model preference.
Specifically, compared with those who preferred to cohabit with children, those having higher education, fewer available family and friend helpers, and shorter distance to healthcare center were more likely to prefer to live independently and rely on community support. And compared with choosing to live in institutions, those having fewer available family and friend helpers and those living alone were more likely to prefer to live independently and rely on community. Need factors (health and disability condition) were not significantly associated with desired aging care models, indicating that desired aging care models were passive choices resulted from the balancing of family and social caring resources.
Conclusions: In Beijing, China, aging care arrangement preference is the result of balancing family care resources, economic and social status, and the accessibility of community resources. Community facilities and services supporting elderly were found to be insufficient. For China’s future health system, efforts should be made to improve community capacity to provide integrated services to senior citizens.