Fieldwork Diary

May 23  Zizhuyuan Park

Ms. Wang, 64,  teaches various dances to the old people in the park. She bikes to the park and spends three hours there every day. She charges the people taking her dance lessons 100 yuan per person, and has about 100 students. Her husband goes to a different park for exercise. Ms. Wang has a son and a daughter. She and her husband live with their son's family.
May 23 Zizhuyuan Park

Ms. Kong, 65, comes to the park every day with her husband. Ms. Kong likes to dance but her husband prefers walking so they do their activities separately. The couple has two sons who don't live with them but visit them regularly.
May 24 Lianhuachi Park 

Mr. Huo, 60, comes this park to dance nearly everyday. He lives in his own home with his wife and their adult son. He is enjoying his retirement, and doesn't have many worries, because both he and his wife are able-bodied.
May 24  Lianhuachi Park 

Ms. Yang, 63, is a retired researcher of modern Chinese history, who loves to dance. She also spoke English very well, and enjoyed switching between Mandarin and English during our interview.
May 24 Lianhuachi Park 

Mr. Pu, 80, was a high-level engineer before retiring in 1992, and because of this has a high pension and enjoys a comfortable retirement. He was at first hesitant to speak with us, but eventually opened up and revealed that his children all live in America, a fact that he does not like to share with people. Although his children live far away, he doesn't want to leave China to be with them, he is happy to live in his homeland and has very few complaints about his current aging experience.
May 24 Lianhuachi Park 

Ms. Yu, 59, is very physically active and swims and dances for multiple hours everyday. Her husband is often away for work, but she is not lonely because her daughter and her daughter's husband live with her. Her health gives her no reasons to worry as she is in a good shape, and she is positive about her own future as she ages- no concerns about health insurance etc.

May 24  Lianhuachi Park 

The Wang couple (in their late 70's) were sitting by themselves, eating after their routine morning exercises, consisting of two laps around the park every day. They have both a son and a daughter, who they agree are both filial. The Wang couple have their own apartment and both live off  very good state pensions as retired civil servants. When we asked them about how life for the elderly could be made better, they both said that they have no worries or needs, but Mr. Wang added jokingly, "Money!"

May 24 Lianhuachi Park 

We found Mr. Wang,68, and his wife sitting on a bench in a corner of the park. Mr. Wang was very friendly but kept being hushed by his wife, who seemed distrustful of us. To stay active, he comes to the park every morning for a brisk walk. He and his wife have three children, but are able to live alone and care for themselves. If he and his wife become unable to care for themselves, they both agreed they would rather be admitted into an eldercare facility than burden their children.
May 25  Dongzhimen Elder Home

Mrs Wang,82, has a son and a daughter and they both have a very high education,the daughter having graduated from Peking University. However, as she noted with slight bitreness in her voice, they do not come to see her often, unless her health seriously deteriorates.She is quite independent in terms of financing her stay at the nursing home and pays the fee with her own pension.
May 25  Dongzhimen Elder Home

I interviewed these three elderly ladies who were ages 91(Wang), 87 (Xing) and 76 (Han). Ms. Wang has been living in this facility for six years. During our conversation she sometimes seemed disoriented, and confided that there were many things she couldn't remember - like how long ago her husband had died. She did say, however, that she liked the facility and that her children called her every week. Ms. Xing has been in the facility for about four years. All but one of her children live outside of Beijing for work, but they do call her fairly often. Ms. Han moved here two months ago because she was no longer able to live alone, and didn't want to burden her kids by living with them.
May 25 Dongzhimen Elder Home

Mr. Yang, 85, is a retired police officer. He used to live with his son, but because his family was not home often, he moved into Dongzhimen Elder Home. However Dongzhimen is close enough to his children's houses that he can visit them whenever he wants. He enjoys living at Dongzhimen for its excellent services. He remains healthy by practicing taichi.
May 25 Dongzhimen Elder Home

Mr. Hu, 89, is a retired teacher. His family has four living generations. His grandsons are in their 30s. He moved to Dongzhimen because his family wasn't home until at night, and he likes this elder home for its food and services. He thinks elder homes are the best way to meet elderly needs.
May 25 Dongzhimen Elder Home

Ms. Zhang 79, is an amicable elderly woman who moved to the Dongzhimen elderly home shortly after her husband's death in 2010. She had heard many good things about this particular facility, in addition to it being close to her old apartment and it being conveniently located to many modes of transportation. Her children see her and call her frequently. She pays for this with her state pension, although she also has plenty of savings herself.
May 26 Qianhe Elder Home
Ms. Deng, 82, is a petite elderly woman and worked in both construction as a blue-collar worker and a kindergarten teacher. She has been retired for about thirty years and have two children, one boy and one girl, who are both married and have their own children. Her granddaughter is in America.

Ms. Chen, 86,  is a retired doctor, and because she lived and practiced in the US for 12 years, she also has an American pension.  She has two sons (in Canada and Beijing) and one daughter (in the US), and all of them didn't want her to live in an elder home. They visit her at least once a year and the Beijing son visits weekly. 

 

May 26 Qianhe Elder Home

Ms. Wen, 70, has one son and two daughters, all of them working and married with children. She does not have a very good relationship with her kids and she does not talk to them very often. She also uses her own pension to pay her expense. Her health condition is not good, she had an eye surgery a few years ago and now she gets injections every morning. Even without me asking any government-related questions, she did emphasize that she wished authorities put their words into actions as their actions are still somewhat inadequate.

May 26 Qianhe Elder Home

Ms. Yang, 82,  lived with her eldest son before moving to Qianhe. Her five children visit her every week. She is happy with the services and staff at the elderhome. 
May 26  Qianhe Elder Home

Mr. Yang,80, has lived in eldercare facilities since his wife passed away two years ago. He has two daughters who visit him regularly, but he is very independent and pays his own bills with his pension money.
May 26 Qianhe Elder Home

Mr. Niu (Fiona). Mr. Niu told me he came from the countryside. He expressed a desire to return there and live with his children. He did not seem particularly happy with beign so far away from home.
May 26 Qianhe Elder Home

Qianhe Elder Home is a private elder home in the northwest side of Beijing on the foot of Xiangshan Hill. It was set up in 2008 and currently has over 90 % occupancy rate with 200 beds.
May 27 Hebei Botou Village
Our hostess, Zhang, 55, has one son and one daughter and both of them are married with kids. Her and her husband currently live alone, she has never worked, she depends on her husband for her livelihood, her kids often come to see her (her daughter, 21, came next day with her husband and their baby). She has never had surgery or any serious illness and she does not worry about healthcare costs. She thinks now it is easier for children when it comes to eldercare since they have their own job and their parents do not expect them to take care of them constantly.
May 27 Hebei Botou Village

Mr. Zhang, 53 years old,  keeps pigs as a profitable side business to tilling the fields.
May 27 Hebei Botou Village

Mr. Meng, 61, had one son and two daughters (many of the residents shared this surname; Meng held a city hukou for the nearby town, and his son, a local teacher, also held urban hukou. But his two daughters, who had married farmers, had agricultural hukou. All his children lived nearby. Because of his son’s teaching government assignment, he had also received his own house, which meant that Meng did not have to pay to build one when his son married. 
May 27 Hebei Botou Village

Mr. Meng, 61, possesses a city hukou; this allows him to operate a business within the city limits. He expressed a firm belief that children should care for their elderly parents, and mentioned that sons in particular need to be very filial.
May 28 Hebei Botou Village

Botou
 Town Elder Home was set up in 2009. It now has about 100 childless elderly, mostly rural men who never married. 
May 29 Sijiqing Elder Home 

It has been featured on CCTV and the director of this facility was also a high-ranking Party official. More than 1,000 people go on the waiting list for this place and the most expensive room is around 4,600 kuai. The complex appears very well kept and the interior is also clean. However, the conference room in which we conducted our interview with the director appeared sterile, and upon a further tour of the facility, it resembled an institution rather than a home.
May 29 Sijiqing Elder Home 

Sijiqing Elder Home first started in 1958 as a state welfare home for the childless elderly free of charge. It began to receive fee-pay elderly since mid 1980s. It has been renovated four times since 1980s and now has 1500 beds with a long waitlist. 
May 29 Second visit to Qianhe Elder Home

Ms. Liu, 87, a former kindergarten teacher at a school for the children of State Council members. She had seven daughters, all accomplished and successful in their fields; one visits her each day of the week.
May 29 Second visit to Qianhe Elder Home

Our interviewee chose to keep her name and age anonymous. She has one son in China (45) who also has a child. Before coming to this particular nursing home, she lived by herself and took care of herself. She moved in only last year, but it was against her will. She did not agree, but she said that her son had taken her there.
Mrs Wen, age 70, came to this nursing home in 2006 and has been living here ever since. She has three kids, one son and two daughters. They are all married, working and have children of their own. Two of her children work in Beijing, one is in another city. Mrs Wen has good, but not particularly close relationship with her children, the children do not come to see her very often. She uses her pension to pay for the fee and does not rely on help from her kids.  
May 29 Second visit to Qianhe Elder Home

Mr. Gun,70, has three daughters and one son. He decided to move into Qianhe and pays for everything. He had two properties and sold one house to give the money to his children. He has only practiced calligraphy for a couple of years, but diligently practices daily. In his room, he proudly showed us his work and calligraphy supplies.
May 29 Second visit to Qianhe Elder Home

Mr. Xu , 85, is a retired engineer. He has two daughters, and one is in America. The other is in Beijing and she takes care of her sick mother. Mr. Xu is in an elder home because he is unable to walk. His daughter and wife comes to bring him snacks and newspapers once a week.
May 30 Erlizhuang Community Model Class

Mrs Hao, is 57, and has just retired a couple of years ago. She has one son in Beijing,who lives with her since he is not married yet. She said that children nowadays were much more independent and she herself would want her son to feel free and independent. She said Beijing is a good place to get old, she does not have any complaints about her pension and is happy that her husband and herselfare still healthy.
May 30 Erlizhuang Community Model Class

Ms. Li, 60, told us that she stays productive in her retirement years by taking care of local neighborhood cats, creating small handicrafts, and helping her son. Her son, age 33, works as a DJ in the clubs of Sanlitun, a popular district for foreigners.
May 30 Erlizhuang Community Model Class

Ms Liu, 61, had a rather unusual story: she got divorced in 2006 and lives alone since her son is a college junior and lives on campus. She said that if she ever got sick ,she would have no choice but to live in a nursing home since that would be safer than being completely alone at home. I felt she was still quite bitter about the divorce and the model activities were a great way for her to meet some friends and find some diversity in her everyday life.
May 30 Erlizhuang Community Model Class

Ms. Wang is in her late fifties and lives with her husband (in his 60s) and her daughter, who is a graduate student. While she took care of her daughter when she was younger, now they take care of and mutually support each other. Although Ms. Mung visited an eldercare home in preparation for her future, she said that the people there seemed to need constant care, but she needs freedom. Since her health is still good, she does not yet consider herself an "elderly" person, and would not move into one of these homes just yet.
May 30 Erlizhuang Community Model Class

Ms. Mung, 58, used to work as a middle school teacher. Ms. Mung comes to these modeling classes by herself, and has done so for about three years. This particular activity makes her happy and is good posture exercise. She has gone to other community centers and they also have similar activities. Her health is still very good, so she has never given much thought to what might happen if she were to fall very ill, or what other services the community center might provide.
May 30 Erlizhuang Community Model Class

Mrs Fu, 50, retired this year and currently lives with her husband. Her son goes to a university in Shaanxi but after he graduates, they would expect him to come back to Beijing and live with them.She said she is on very good terms with his son, she has helped him a lot in life and she would be happyif he would take care of her and her husband when they get old.
May 30 Zhixin Community Square dance

Mr. Chen, 53, has a wife and a daughter, but the daughter lives separately. His wife also comes to dance with him sometimesbut not very often.He said he is in favorof going to anursing home when he get very old since Beijing now has a well developed institutional eldercare system and there are many good nursing homes to choose from.
May 30 Zhixin Community Square dance

Mr. Wu (second from the left) is the leader and teacher of this square-dancing program and is sixty years old. Both he and his wife's health are good, so he says that they can take care of themselves. He believes that the burden for his son in today's day and age is very great- he must both raise his own children and work. Instead of living with his son in the future, Mr. Wu will live by himself. As the leader of this square-dancing group, he says that they dance twice a week for two hours each time and perform in both competitions and small events such as birthdays.

May 30 Zhixin Community Square dance

Mrs. Bai, 61,comes three days a week to the dancing lessons.Her daughter is 30 and is working in Beijing. MrsBai lives alonewith her husband in their own house .She has had 4 surgeries and thinks the dance class has helped her in the recovery process. She emphasized that parents today need to relaize how much pressure chidlren have and become more independent from their childern.
May 31 Xicheng Cultural Center Chorus

Mr.Yang (57 years old) has three more years to go before he will retire, and claims that his wife's health is better than his! If he were to become very ill in the future, he would depend on whoever is beside him to take care of him, and at this point, that is his wife. Mr. Yang believes that there is no need for him to trouble his daughters over small matters.
May 31 Xicheng Cultural Center Chorus



These elderly women live very care-free live and joked that life as a retired person is even harder than that of a worker... they never have enough time in the day to do all of the activities that they want!
May 31 Xicheng Cultural Center Chorus

Mrs Gao,66. has been singing for almost 10 years, she goes to parks as well, she does activities with her grandkids. She seemed really satisfied with her overall routine. She also said these days young people were very busy at work but at the same time when we asked her if she would be willing to go to a nursing home, she did not seem enthusiastic about the idea. She also emphasized that the fees in most nursing homes , especially the good ones, are very high. The best thing, she thinks, is to live with your children.
May 31 Qilerong-NGO

Qilerong NGO focuses on helping empty-nesters, elderly with no children or family support etc. Their mission revolves around spiritual support and active engagement of the individual into various activities, as well as promoting intergenerational understanding and mutual support. The NGO undertakes various community projects and thus carries out the spirit of community service- based eldercare. 


June 1 Shichahai Community Fitness Dance

Ms. Wong 61, is the teacher and leader of this aerobic dance group. Her daughter (28) is an artist and currently lives with her and her husband. Ms. Wong does not mind this, or her job preferences, because she acknowledges that housing is very expensive nowadays. More interestingly, she remarked that every generation has their own problems- she had hers during the Cultural Revolution.

June 1 Shichahai Community Fitness Dance

Ms. Zhao,  55, is a former kindergarten teacher. She began dancing to help alleviate symptoms of high blood pressure. Besides dancing, she also loves to sing; since her retirement, she has traveled extensively with her chorus group and recently returned from Moscow on a trip with them.
June 1 Shichahai Community Fitness Dance

Mrs. Gao, 51, is a quiet retired worker who makes an effort to stay healthy and active by dancing and attending other activities in her community. She lives with her husband in their home, and their daughter lives nearby with her husband. She thinks that as time progresses, people will continue to be increasingly independent, and she said that traditional ideas about raising kids are not as applicable today in urban areas.
June 1 Shichahai Community Fitness Dance

Mrs Chai, 58, has been doing this fintess type of dancing exercise for the past 3-4 years. She also sings in the park in her community and enjoys this activity very much as well. Her commuinity has a lot of activities for old people. She has a lot of brothers and siters, 10 in total. Her son, 28, is also in Beijing and has a job. He lives with her and her husband but has not married yet. She thinks that in general whether one can depend on their children depends mostly on the kind of upbringing and education they have recived as children, she thinks that it is important to bring your children as moral individuals, who would later show filial piety. 
June 1 Shichahai Community Fitness Dance

Ms. Zhang,58, used to sell books in a bookstore before she retired in '04. Her parents are 78 (f) and 75(m) years old and they live by themselves in the same neighborhood as their daughter. Her 30 year old son still lives with them. She said outright that, in the future, she would rather live in an elder home than with her son. She doesn't want her son to take care of two sets of parents.
June 1 Shichahai Community Fitness Dance

Mrs. Feng, 50, was very talkative and excited to tell me about herself. Her husband is away most of the year for work and her only son is in American studying, so she schedules her time with many activities to keep herself busy. Her husband has a very high income, and because of this she has no financial worries now or for the future, even though they pay full price for her son's American college expenses.
June 2 Second visit to Zizhuyuan Park 

Mrs Liu, 72, has a husband same age, they were in the park together with their grandson. They usually come to this park together for two and a half hours, they are from Xi’an but they came two years ago to Beijing to take care of their grandchildren and now they live with the daughter. They only come to the park with the child and they do not do special activities. Both of them are healthy and have no surgeries, they both think that daughters are more nurturing and caring than sons. They came to help out with the grandson because the daughter and her husband are extremely busy.
June 2 Second visit to Zizhuyuan Park 

The father, Tian, 59, came to the park with his daughter is 29. They are in the park with her one-year-old child. Tian’s wife is 55, also in the park.  He was a taxi driver before and he retired in 2008. They come together to the park during the weekends when the daughter is not at work. The wife comes to the park with him and sings while he does other activities.
June 2 Second visit to Zizhuyuan Park 

His name is Zhang, 60, was in the park with his daughter, wife and the grandson (2 years old). They only come on weekends with the grandkids and they never come on their own to do activities, they live separately in Beijing and everyone has their own house. He has not retired yet and is a bus driver. He said in the past people preferred sons but now there are no differences when it comes to taking care of parents. More and more old people are living alone these days since in today’s society everyone is more independent.
June 2 Second visit to Zizhuyuan Park 


June 2 Second visit to Zizhuyuan Park 

Mr Zhen, 78, approached us and seemed very willing to talk to us, he almost asked to be interviewed himself. He retired in 1995 and used to be a scientific translator and started coming to the park after he retired. He has three kids, two boys and one girl, he has a son in LA, USA, who is an architect and has a very high salary. He has been to the USA 4 times. He speaks Russian and English and even tried to communicate with us in those languages. His wife is 79, a bit older than him, he thinks that daughters and sons are all the same in terms of taking care of parents. He said nurses are expensive so he saw no reason to hire one.
June 2 Second visit to Zizhuyuan Park 
Ms Bai, 83, had worked at a hospital before retiring. Her husband had passed away in 2001, and she lived alone. Although there was another, smaller park closer to her home, she still came to Zizhuyuan (a 20-minute bus ride) to stroll and enjoy the air, for one hour in the morning, and one hour in the afternoon. Her daughter, an only child, generally accompanied her. 
June 2 Second visit to Zizhuyuan Park 

Ms. Han, 67, is a retired accountant. She goes to parks in the area everyday, including Zizhuyuan Park. She walks around the parks for two hours with her friends and former colleagues. She also likes to sing, dance, and play mahjong in her free time. She likes the parks' fresh air and lively atmosphere. She has one son (in Sydney) and two daughters (in Beijing). In the future, she plans on living in an elder home because she doesn't want to be a burden for her children.
June 2 Second visit to Zizhuyuan Park 

Ms.Han is 73 years old and was a middle school teacher before retiring in 1994. She does not come to this park often; she just had some free time today. She has two older brothers living in the countryside and she visits them and her family home (laojia) often. She will not live with her sons in the future because while her relationship with her sons and daughter-in-laws are good now, she is afraid that living with them will make the relationship worse. Instead, she would go to an eldercare home.
June 2 Second Visit to Dongzhimen Elder Home

Ms. Gao, 76, worked as a blue-collar worker (gongren) and retired 26 years ago at the age of 50. Her pension is more than 2000 yuan, which pays for her residency at the eldercare home. A recurring them that I have noticed among elders and their sentiments towards eldercare homes revolve around the food they are served and Ms. Gao said that she was happy here.
June 2 Second Visit to Dongzhimen Elder Home

Mrs Fang, 60, has one daughter and she came to the yanglaoyuan at the age of 50. Daughter is in Beijing working as a driver. Her relationship with her daughter is not good, she seemed alarmed and reluctant to talk about it at first but then she opened up and talked about the conflicts. Her daughter,32, is married but has no kids. She said that the daughter calls and comes occasionally to see her but judging from her facial expression, we could tell she probably comes very rarely. She mentioned that work and study are the most significant values to the new generation. She generally thinks that sons are more troublesome to take care of than daughters.
June 2 Second Visit to Dongzhimen Elder Home

Teacher Zhao is very creative in coming up with different recreational activities for the old people at the elderly home.
June 2 Second visit Dongzhimen Elder home 

Dongzhimen
 Elder Home--an neighborhood committee-run elder home in Chaoyang District. It started operation since 1996, and currently has 100 % occupancy rate with 26 elderly residents.
June 2 Guo Weiwei's grandparents

Our Colby classmate Guo Weiwei's grandparents are both in their eighties and both have different interests when it comes to exercising. Her grandfather does tai chi sword and going to the library. Her grandmother takes walks to the nearby park and enjoys playing mahjong. They currently live in an apartment but they have also visited elderly homes as well in consideration of the future.
June 3 Taoranting Park

1. Mrs Zhang, 55, comes almost every day to sing opera songs. She sometimes comes with her husband. She lives far away and takes the bus to come. Her husband is 58, and they are both retired. They have one daughter who lives in Beijing and the daughter is married. They do not live with the daughter and they are both healthy. Her parents are not living, she has two brothers in Beijing. She said she would not go to a nursing home but thinks it is easy to find one in Beijing. She thinks that children should take care of the parents.  She worries about her body deteriorating as she gets older.  Her community has a free daycare center for old people above 70 that she really approves of.
June 3 Taoranting Park

Mr. Shan, 84, comes to this park every day and does a number of activities. He participates in the opera singing group and does several exercises by himself- hitting trees with his hands, kicking rocks, crouches (30 times a day), and the mantis pose (50 times a day).
June 3 Taoranting Park

Mr. Song was 57, but with his fedora and long hair, his appearance belies his age. Mr. Song comes to this park often and sings Chinese opera for about 4-5 hours. Afterwards, he will eat outside and then go home and rest. At his local community center, he will watch television and go online. He doesn’t play mahjong anymore, however, because it is not good for his health.

Mr. Song believes that daughters are not as good as sons in terms of taking care of parents because they are not as strong (he took care of his own parents). However, he does prefer daughters, and if his own daughter were to have child, he would want it to be a girl.

June 3 Taoranting Park

Mr  Wang. 53, has a son who is 19 and is starting college. He comes alone and lives very close to the park. He is unemployed and his wife is an English teacher. He did not respond to many of our questions, he seemed so agitated and seemed to talk mostly about the government and seemed very unsatisfied with them. He seemed to like America a lot and said he hoped his son can receive better education there. He seemed very annoyed by the huge gap in income in China. He mentioned there is a new policy regarding health insurance starting this year but he seemed to think Obama’s policy in terms of healthcare is better.
June 3 Taoranting Park

Mrs Zhang is 55, comes to the park every day if she is not too busy. She stays in the park for a bout 3 hours till noon. She retired 4 years ago. She participates in a lot of activities. Her house is not too far away. Her husband is 58 and still has not retired. She has one daughter and she already married and has one granddaughter. She thinks daughters are better in terms of taking care of parents as they are more nurturing.
June 3 Taoranting Park

Mr. Su, 58, was practicing his juggling with two swords when we approached him. He does this every day for about two hours while his wife sings elsewhere in the park. He told us that the life of a retired person is very relaxing, but in the future, he would rely on his children to take care of him rather than hire a nurse or maid.
June 3 Taoranting Park

The two reserach groups interviewing two elderly families.
June 4 Tiesi Community Chorus

Ms. Wang will be 84 years old this year, and she didn’t even expect to hit the 80’s. But with China’s increasing life expectancy, there are more and more people in their 80’s, 90’s, and even 100’s, one of whom we were able to meet as she passed through the park. In the future, she may go to an eldercare home, because she thinks that China’s eldercare homes are particularly good and there are many of them.

June 4 Tiesi Community Chorus

Ms. Zhou, 82, is a retired gynecologist. She currently has two sons. Her oldest son and only daughter died from major health complications. Her daughter's son, who lives in Beijing, visits her often. Her sons live in Nanjing and Haerbin, so they visit when they can. In the future, she would live in an elder home because she does not want to burden her children. She tries to stay active by singing, dancing, and walking while listening to music. She does most of her activities at the community center.
June 4 Tiesi Community Chorus
Mrs. Wang, 78, (left) lives alone since her husband passed away in 2008. Her health is still very good. She has three kids: two boys and a girl. One of her children lives in Canada, where she has been to visit him and his family twice for a year, and the other two children live in Beijing. 

Mrs. Wang, 58, lives with her husband, who is also in excellent health. They only have one child – a son who currently lives and works in Massachusetts, USA.

June 4 Tiesi Community Chorus

Mrs Li, 63, and Mrs Zhang, 82,  are both from Beijing. They have been doing this singing acticity for more than 10 years. Zhang laoshi is also participating in a book club acitivitiues also in the shequ. They also participate in other activities, like exercise, dancing etc. They think old people in this shequ are very happy and keep busy. They love participating in activities. Li laoshi has one child, the one child policy had just been started at that time and Zhang has one son and one daughter.
June 4 Tiesi Community Chorus

Zhao, 74, and Huang, 83,  had been researchers for aerospace engineering, and Huang had been a professor as well. Zhao lived with her husband, who was very ill. She was his primary caregiver, and said that she understood him in a way that his doctors did not, so sometimes she ignored the doctor’s prescriptions. She had two sons, both of whom lived in Beijing. Huang lived alone, as her husband had passed away twenty years before of a heart attack after going out to exercise in the cold one January morning. She had three sons and a daughter, also living in Beijing, and a younger brother living in her hometown in Jiangxi.


June 4 Leling  Day Care Center NGO

Leling Day Care center was established in 2006 to combat the aftermaths of the rapid aging population phenomenon in China. The commuity center also incorporated the Beijing Elderly Culture Development Co. Ltd at the end of 2008. 


June 5 Nongjianv-Home Care Center NGO

This home care center includes private , non-enetrprise units that are registered within the Dongcheng  Civil Affiars Bureau. The center provides home eldercare to 14 residents of the community, and also helps releive the pressure for people with low pensions, migrant worker women, laid off workers etc.
June 7 Shanghai Changning No. 1 Welfare Home

Ms. Wong just turned 100 years old. Ms. Gu told us that her mother is very active and is always walking around.  The decision to move into this elderly home was made by the both of them and in Ms. Gu’s opinion, was the best solution. Her home is nearby so she comes by to visit twice a week, during which they will eat together and walk around outside.
June 7 Shanghai Changning No. 1 Welfare Home

Ms. Song is 92 years old and she is a retired elementary school teacher. She taught music and dance. She used to live with her oldest daughter before her daughter moved to Australia. After, Ms. Song moved into this elder home. She spends most of her time painting and the elder home even sells some of her work.
June 7 Shanghai Changning No. 1 Welfare Home

Ms Ni, 87, retired in 1987 and used to be a teacher before retirement. Her husband passed away a decade ago and was very sick before that, therefore, the daughter had to take care of both of them. She wanted to releive her daughter of all the burden, so she moved to the welfare home.
June 7  Shanghai Changning No. 1 Welfare

Shanghai Changning District Elder Home, first set up in 1990 as a welfare home for the childless elderly free of charge. Since 1994 it began to receive fee-paying elderly. It currently has 115 residents and almost in full capacity.
June 7 Waitan Caregiving Session

The session was located on the second floor of the Waitian Caregiving Center. The purpose of the sessions, that are carried out on a weekly basis, is to educate people, whose parents suffer from dimentia, on how to provide the best home eldercare for their parents and accomodate their needs.
June 8 Shanghai Huayang Elder Home

Ms. Wan, 77, has an unusual story because her husband also lives in the facility. They live on different floors, but do activities together and sometimes spend weekends in their apartment nearby. Although she is aging, she seems to be very happy and live a very full life.
June 8 Shanghai Huayang Elder Home

Mr. Fan, 85,  used to work in the exporting business. After his wife passed away, he moved into the elder home. He has four daughters (one in Australia, one in Japan, and two in Shanghai) and one son (in Shanghai). He says they “不关我” but he also seems proud of them, saying his daughters are bright and his son owns property and visits him often.
June 8 Shanghai Huayang Elder Home

Ms. Zhu, 82, is a retired accountant. Huayang Elder Home was the fifth residential facility she visited, and the best of the ones she had seen. She chose to move to the elder home because she did not want to burden her daughters.
June 8 Shanghai Huayang Elder Home

Mr Lin, 88, retired in 1985. He has two sons and a daughter, two of his kids live in Beijing. He decided to come to teh nursing home after thorough discussions with all 3 children. The elder home has a very good reputation and is close to where he used to live. He emphasized that Shanghai's aging problem was becoming more and more serious and they needed more eldercare instituions.
June 8 Shanghai Huayang Elder Home
Ms. Chuen ,78, was the pianist for the chorus, substituting for their original pianist and teacher, who was away on that particular day. She studied art in college and worked in advertisement design before retiring n 1990.She pays for the elder home with her own pension, which is 6,000.  She moved between living with her son and daughter before moving into this particular eldercare home about two years ago. 

 

June 8 Shanghai Huayang Elder Home

Huayang Elder Home is a street neighborhood-run elder home started in 1989. Currently it has 170 beds and provides many recreational activities for the elderly resident there.
June 8 Shanghai Jinfu Elder 

Jinfu Elder Home is a private home set up in 2009 in Changning district. It now has 117 residents running at almost full capacity. 
June 9 Fuxing Park

Mr Wei, 63, retired in 2009,was born in Shanghai. Has one daughter, who is a teacher, and lives with her, husband, also with their 2 kids. He thinks that nowadays young people have a lot of burdens form work and often it is necessary to invite a helper, but it is expensive, usually it reaches up to 2000 yuan. He thinks that traditional thinking is still applicable today and thinks taking care of your elders is very significant.
June 9 Fuxing Park

Ms. Chen, came to the park with her elderly father. She talked about the stress of an adult who must care for three generations: a father, a son, and a granddaughter. She said that since her son works so much, she often goes to his apartment to clean, prepare food, and care for his daughter. Before this, however, she must go to her father's home to assist him with household tasks.
June 9 Fuxing Park

Mrs You, was in the park with her old colleagues , they all used to be ateachers, Mrs You was a Chinese teacher. She retired in 1987 but still kept her old relationships. They come to the park every day together and in winter give each other a call every day. In the summer they do not do any special activities, juts walk and talk in the park. Her son is 50 years old, and has not retired yet. She thinks that now regardless of whether it is a son or a daughter, now it is very hard to take care of parents in Shanghai because the standard of living is not high at all.
June 9 Fuxing Park
Mr. Huang (70 years old) comes by himself but will do Tai Chi with his simei, the woman sitting next to him, or his Master, shifu. He does Tai Chi every morning if it’s not raining and his home is about a thirty-minute walk away from the park.  In the future, he does not want to bother his daughter to take care of him and may consider entering an elderly home.

 

June 9 Fuxing Park
Mr Shao, 79, goes to different parks- he spends two days in Fuxing and two days at a different park. He does taiqi. He has been doing it for over 10 years. He says taiqi is very good for one's health, he used to get flu all the time but now he doesn't catch a cold at all. His wife also goes to the parks but they do different kinds of activities and do them separately. 
June 9 Fuxing Park

Mr and Mrs Lao, 85 and 80, come to the park to just hang out and walk. She does all of the housework after they get back home. They have 3 daughters, one in Australia, one in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. They all have good jobs and high salaries. The daugher decided to go to Australia on her own and did not spend time discussing this decision with them.  She comes every two years to see them but does not spend much time in Shanghai.
June 9 Fuxing Park

Mr. Xia (left) and Mr. Gu (middle), two elderly former teachers who come to the park every day to take dancing lessons. Both enjoyed their independence; Gu stated at the end of the interview that a self-sufficient man is the happiest.
June 10  Renmin Park

Mr. Wang, 75, lives with a retirement pension of a little more than 2,000 RMB. He has a daughter and a son, both of whom are married and living in Shanghai. He lives by himself and also does all the household chores by himself. Additionally, he has relatively few medical worries; none that medicine cannot solve. He used to take care of his grandchildren up until middle school and also helped pay for his granddaughter’s college tuition (20,000 yuan). 

June 10  Renmin Park

Mr and Mrs Lao, 85 and 80, come to the park to just hang out and walk. She does all of the housework after they get bacfk home. They have 3 daughters, one in Australia, one in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. They all have good jobs and high salaries. The daugher decided to go to Australia on her own and did not spend time discussing this decision with them. She comes every two years once to see them and the one who is in Shanghai comes more frequently.He worked in a factory making pens before he retired.
June 10  Renmin Park

Mr. Liu is 64 years old and he is a former Navy officer. He came to Shanghai to take care of his oldest son's son. His wife is in Beijing helping to take care of their other son's child. When he's not taking care of his grandson, he writes poems and essays on his computer. Because he's considered an outsider (he's orginally from Xi'an), he doesn't partake in community activities.
June 10  Renmin Park

Mrs Wang, is 75, lives in Harbin, has one son and one daughter and they were in the park,. They took her to Shanghai for  a vacation and she emphasized several times they were very filial. She works in a factory and retired in 89 and her pension 1400. Her husband died in 2008 but was sick for many years and she took care of him; she lives in the same building as her son but in a different apartment so it is easy for him to check on her. She has 8 siblings and they are all alive, some live in Harbin and see each other a lot. If she can no longer live in he own, her kids would never let her go to a nursing home.

June 10  Renmin Park

Ms Wang and her son.
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Mrs. Dong is 79 years old and lives alone. Her husband died several years ago, and they have no children. They did, however, adopt a child, who lives in Shanghai, but who now has little contact with Mrs. Dong. She also had  four siblings, none of whom are living currently. Her lack of relatives gives her few choices when it comes to eldercare. Although she currently lives on her own and is able to care for herself in  her time outside of the daycare facility, if her health deteriorates she says she will have no other option but to rely on the state and enter an eldercare facility.
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou


June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Mrs. Li is 93 this year and still lives independently from her children. Her husband passed away many years ago now, but she has her five sons and one daughter. When asked if she would rely on her children for care if she was unable to care for herself, Mrs. Li adamantly insisted that she would check herself into an eldercare facility. She doesn’t mind having her children come over several times a week to help her out, but she feels that depending entirely on them would burden them too much.
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Ms. Hu is 82 years old and she used to work for the service sector before she retired. She is originally from Wuhan and still has land there. She has two sons, and the both live in Shanghai. She currently lives with the youngest son and the oldest son visits her every Saturday. She said, very animatedly, that every Mother’s Day, her oldest son would treat her to Japanese. She really likes Japanese because it’s healthy and has a lot of vegetables.
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Mr. He, a 94-year-old former factory worker. He had no children, and mostly relied on his younger brother, also retired, to help him if necessary.
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Ms. Wang (first from left) is 86 years old lives with her oldest son in the neighborhood and her daughter-in-law takes her to the daycare every morning. She likes playing mahjong with friends and is happy with this daycare because although her leg is not very good, the staff there helps her get around. In fact, she said that she would not consider going to an elderly home in the future because she will just stay here, at Yong Nian.

 

June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Ms. Zhao is 75 years old and she is a Shanghai native. She has three sons and they all live in Shanghai. She lives by herself and her sons visit her every week. Unlike the popular patten of grandparents taking care of their grandchildren, Ms. Zhao did not help raise her sons' children. Her sons didn't need her to.
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Mr. Zhang, 85 years old. Despite back and leg problems, he still lives independently and states that he does not wish to move into an elder home at any point. Nor does he wish to live with any of his three children, although he gets along with all of them, because he values his independence.
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Ms. Ren is 86 years old and entered Yong Nian about a year and a half ago and made this decision on her own. Before coming to this daycare, she would frequent parks and walked around, but stopped going when she was 83 because her joints were not so good. Watching TV is not exactly her favorite activity because she cannot see or hear very well so it may not be very clear. She has no big illnesses besides her feet. Her children used to bring her to the doctor sometimes, but now the doctor visits Yong Nian once every week and she can see him conveniently. She takes four types of medicine and pays 300 kuai for them in total.
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Mrs Wu, 71, originally from Nanjing, was an eye doctor before she retired. Currently, her husband resides at a nursing home but she is not living there, she just comes to this daycare facility during the week. She said she made that decision because even though he used to come to this center as well, his health worsened and it is much easier now to be in a nursing home. Her health however, is not that bad and for economic reasons, she is not willing to pay the high fee for a nursing home. Therefore, she just goes to see him during the weekend. Her daughter studies in New York and her son is in Shanghai.
June 11  Waitan Daycare Center-Yongnianlou

Mr. Cen, 89, lives with his son two doors down from Yong Nian in a rented apartment and walks to the daycare himself. He believes that all of his children are fairly good and they organize their time well to accommodate him. However, he admitted that when he is sick, although anyone could take him, his daughters did so more frequently than his son.