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Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 269–284 | Cite as

Aging in Southeast and East Asia: Issues and Policy Directions

  • Angelique Chan
Original Article

Abstract

Population aging is unique in Asia given the speed at which it is occurring and the immense social and economic changes that the region is experiencing at the same time. Compared to their Western counterparts, Asian governments have much less time to prepare for population aging. Asian countries that have traditionally relied on family-based support for older family members are worried that increased numbers of older adults may stress these family systems. At the same time, information concerning the effectiveness of formal programs for older adults is scarce. This paper reviews current research on informal support versus formal support of older adults in Southeast and East Asia, with a larger aim of assessing the current well-being of older Asians and suggesting areas of policy concern. Current research reveals that formal programs in the majority of Southeast and East Asian countries have very low coverage of today's older adults, and the figures for future generations are not that much higher. However, family support of older persons may not be deteriorating as predicted by modernization theory. Asian families continue to play a major role in supporting older members, thus policies should focus on enabling Asian families to provide this support.

Keywords

Aging Asia Elderly Formal support Informal support Family 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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