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Those far-away places: Insights on China's ageing strategies

McDonald, T. A., 2014

ACSA National Conference, Adelaide


Background: Since 2005 Professor McDonald has been travelling each year to China where she has been invited to share with the Chinese central and provincial governments as well as researchers and faculty at Wuhan University, her insights on ageing demographics and economics; workforce preparation; development of programs for elders and policy frameworks for the future. In April 2014 she presented the opening keynote to the National Post-Stroke Community Rehabilitation and Adaptation Skills Training conference and workshops on long life and support strategies.

Objective: This presentation will draw on high level insights and experiences gained through regular and extended engagements with various aspects of Chinese aged care, tertiary education and policy in order to highlight the similarities and differences in the socio-political and cultural environments in which care of elders occurs in Australia and China.

Methods and results: Policies enacted by China last century will continue to have effects on the availability of family and community supports for elders, and this will continue to be a major factor for another 30 years. Within a society polarised by class and wealth, options for caring for elders differ depending on where they live and who they are. Because China's class system extends also to professional rankings, issues of workforce availability are complicated when it comes to nursing and medicine; and both are conceptualised quite differently from Australia's approach to workforce.

Australia can learn from the Chinese experience and there are some aspects of Australia's approach to policy on ageing that could be useful in China's efforts to re-invent its strategies around ageing. An overview of recent changes in China's policy on population and ageing will be provided and implications drawn for those interested in being part of China's development in this area.

Conclusions: China is a breathtakingly beautiful country and its people are hard-working and invested in the future of their country. The challenges of meeting filial piety obligations under current social realities are known and appreciated so China is interested in hearing about solutions found by other nations and perhaps then finding their own solution with or without partnerships with the West. Those who want to participate in this exciting era will need to understand China's priorities and strategies. A focus on service excellence or fiscal sustainability in another country is not enough.

Delegates will:

  • Understand key relativities between China and Australia that would impact on the design and availability of aged care systems in China.
  • Identify strategies that support partnerships between China and Australia in providing aged care support an economically viable and sustainable way.
  • recognize opportunities to develop collaboration with different levels of Chinese society and ways to contribute to China's development of aged care support frameworks.

CITATION McDonald, T. (2014) Those far-away places: Insights on China's ageing strategies. Aged Care Services Australia (ACSA) national Conference. Adelaide Convention Centre, 7-10 September

NOTE Insights into China's socio-politico-cultural changes over the past 10 years and a view on constraints and opportunities for partnerships with Australian aged care.

Last updated 18/11/2019
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