Aging in the USA and the Chinese Cultures

Aging in the USA and theChinese Cultures

Aging is an inevitable occurrencein all living beings. However, the view of aging changes from placeto place depending on culture, economy and so on. In this project,the point of focus will be the comparison of aspects of aging betweenthe United States of America and China. There are generally moredifferences in the two countries with regards to aging thansimilarities.

  1. Social norms in the US Vs. China

Family support

Family support for the aging isconsidered to be one of the primary responsibilities of families inChina. In the people’s republic of China, the family is the primarysource of emotional, physical, social, psychological and financialsupport for the aging population. Adults are involved in directlycaring for their parents who are aging (Cai,et al.). It is the legalresponsibility of children to care for their parents when they age.This is because parents care for their children, and when they becomeold, the Chinese tradition expects that the children also return thefavor. The Constitution of the Republic of China affirms thetradition in writing. However, modernization of the country is posingchallenges to the great culture of children caring for the elderly.Many youths are finding good opportunities far away from home,thereby not having time to care for the aging, leaving the norm realin the paper but impractical in real life. Over 60 percent of theelderly people stay without family care in the urban centers. In theUnited States of America however, the aging population receives lessattention from their young ones and live independently. Although someof the senior citizens are cared for by their children, most of themare able to live independently as they are more financiallyindependent. The family, however, was responsible for support,although to a lesser extent compared to the Chinese counterparts.

Friends and society

Friends and community in Chinaprovide mostly social support such as emotional and psychological,just like it is in the United States of America. However, in thecurrent times, support from friends and the society is less. Theeconomic structure of the society makes it hard for the society togive directly care for the aging as most people spend time at work(Cai, et al.).

  1. Institutional arrangements

Living place

The majority of the agingpopulation in China lives in their homes. Most of the Chinese elderlylive in the rural areas. They are also not able to affordinstitutional care. In the United States of America, the elderly alsolive in their homes both in the cities and rural areas. The familiesof the elderly in the United States of America can affordinstitutionalization although they prefer to stay in their homes. TheChinese elderly in the rural areas are mostly not very economicallystable, and this is another reason they remain in their homes even ifcare by family is limited. However, the few affluent among thepopulation who can afford quality care, employ caregivers and nursesin their homes to provide care from their homes. In the United Statesof America, between 90 and 95 percent of the aged live at home. Theyare either cared by family or those who can afford, employ nurses togive care to them, giving them prescription drugs and other medicalcare. In China about 86 percent of the elderly live in their homesand are cared by family (Zhao,et al.).


Working for age population inChina is defined as those ranging from age 16 to age 59. As at 2014,the working age population was declining. The decrease in the workingage population can largely be blamed on the on child policy. There isa lower birth rate compared to the preceding years. In 2014 alone,the people in the working age reduced to 915.8 million. The number ofpeople above sixty years old increased by approximately 10 million to212.4 million, this brings the percentage of those above working ageto 15.5 percent of the population of the people’s republic of china(Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, et al.).In the case of the USA, the working age increased in 2009 by 15percent, although the number of people with jobs reduced. Althoughthe number of elderly also increases in the United States of America,the birth rate is not controlled. Therefore, the country has morepeople who can work than it can employ. The problem of reduced workfor is not major in the USA as it is in China (Calvoand John, 78).

Nursing home

Nursing homes in China only fitthe wealthy and the middle class in China, unlike in the USA. Healthneeds that cannot be serviced by home caregivers and family have tobe attended to in nursing homes (Zhao,et al.). The nursing homesin China are divided into three categories that do not exist in theUSA. The first category is those who can care for themselves whosebudget is 850 Yuan per month the next is those who need partialsupport, and their budget is 750 Yuan per month and those who readtotal support whose budget is 110 per month. Therefore, nursing homesconsume up to 146 percent of the pensions of the Chinese elderly. Inthe United States of America, about five percent of the elderly areill and need placement into nursing homes. Nevertheless, most elderlyin the USA just like in China cannot afford the nursing care becausethey do not plan for it. There is also more recognition that thetraditional care is more favorable as compared to the nursing homecare.

Working opportunity

Most people aged 60 year of agein the USA are working either part time or full time either becauseof need or otherwise. Statistics shows that there are more than 26million workers whose age is above 55. There was a 46 percentincrease from the year 2000. In China, however, there are very fewpeople above sixty who are willing to work as a result of thetradition that says it is the role of the youths to care for theelderly (Calvo and John,78).

  1. Behavioral patterns in both countries two pages

Adaptation to Aging

The aging people in China accepttheir conditions as the Chinese belief in fatalities. However, theydo not prepare for the life of being elderly as they are aresponsibility of their young ones, although things have changed nowand the old remain without the care of their families. Their failureto adapting lead to increasing numbers of the elderly who needsupport dependency in activities of daily living (Boduroglu,et al. 327). The rate ofdependence increased in 2009 from 13 to 32 percent in 2002. InAmerica on the other hand, an adaptation of the old to their age ismade easier by the existence of social security policies that enablepeople to prepare for aging before it comes. People can earn afterretirement and can live more independently as compared to theirChinese counterparts (Jopp,and Christoph, 66).

Social adaptation

In the US, social adjustment tothe aging is limited with the elderly still being alienated by theiryouths. Even though there are opportunities given to the elderly suchas jobs and social security funds, the aged are not treated warmlylike their Chinese counterparts. The social adaptation for the old inChina is good. The Chinese long tradition of taking care of theirelderly ensures that the society prepares for the old, thereforemaking them comfortable in the society (Boduroglu,et al. 327).


Meditation is believed to slowdown the effects of aging in mental activity in both countries.However, meditation is a more common practice in China as compared tothe United States of America.

  1. Conclusion.

In summary, there are differencesin issues to do with aging in USA and China. The Chinese traditionsprovide for their social adaptation to aging as a condition ratherthan a problem. However, the changing economic times make thetraditions such as family acre hard to implement. The USA, on theother hand, may seem to perform better than China because of betterpolicies, but lags behind China regarding social adaptation as agingis viewed as a problem by the youth. However, both governments aremaking strides towards improving the lives of the aging. Chinasubsidies the cost of caring for the elderly sick while the UnitedStates of America through social security funds helps the workingclass prepare for retirement.

Work cited

Boduroglu, Aysecan, et al.&quotAge-related stereotypes: A comparison of American and Chinesecultures.&quot Gerontology52.5 (2006): 324-333.

Calvo, Esteban, and John B.Williamson. &quotOld-age pension reform and modernization pathways:Lessons for China from Latin America.&quot Journalof Aging Studies 22.1(2008): 74-87.

Carroll,Archie, and Ann Buchholtz. Businessand society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management.Cengage Learning, 2014.

Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil,Cristian, et al. &quotNo country for old members: User lifecycle andlinguistic change in online communities.&quot Proceedingsof the 22nd international conference on World Wide Web.International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee, 2013.

Jopp, Daniela, and ChristophRott. &quotAdaptation in very old age: exploring the role ofresources, beliefs, and attitudes for centenarians` happiness.&quotPsychology and aging21.2 (2006): 266.

Cai,Fang, et al. Theelderly and old age support in rural China.World Bank Publications, 2012.

Lang,Diana. Opening toMeditation: A Gentle, Guided Approach.New World Library, 2015.

Zhao, Yaohui, et al. &quotCohortprofile: The China health and retirement longitudinal study(CHARLS).&quot Internationaljournal of epidemiology(2012): dys203.