S.China survey finds elderly entering old age without support of kids

10:42, October 25, 2010      

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A recent study of the elderly in parts of Guangdong province, in southern China, has shown that the tradition of children supporting their aged parents is slowly fading away.

The survey of nearly 1,300 people aged 60 or above, living in urban areas, found that, more and more, the elderly are living by themselves and are instead providing financial support to their adult children, according to Monday's China Daily.

The study was done by the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences' elderly affairs research center, from July to September of this year, and found that more than 10 percent of the people have to give monetary support to their adult children on a monthly basis. A third of them give money to their children from time to time.

Some 16 percent of the elderly said they found this hard to bear because giving away a part of their pension had a serious impact on the quality of life in retirement.

Chinese tradition over the centuries, as has been the case in many other countries, has been for people to have as many children as possible so that they can rely on them for support when they get too old to care for themselves.

They often live with their children and help with the housework or take care of grandchildren, when the parents are busy with their work.

The study found more than 40 percent of the elderly comply with tradition and take care of grandchildren, while around 20 percent help with the housework.

But changing social conditions are now forcing more of the urban elderly to fend for themselves and 62 percent of them live apart from their grown-up children.

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