Community Center and Park Activities

Due to the fast economic growth, the decrease in family size , and the increasing freedom for the younger generation to relocate and move away from home to pursuit their future and career, more and more Chinese parents find themselves not only living in empty-nest households, but also in need of alternative ways to meet their need for old age support. Although the Chinese cultural ideal of having a fulfilling life in old age is defined as “receiving care from filial children and grandchildren in a multi-generational household” (“tianlun zhile”), many urban elderly are redefining their old age and retirement life through dancing, singing and taichi exercising in the public parks, or practicing calligraphy, playing mahjong, or taking study sessions at the local community centers or senior universities. Through interviews in the parks and community centers, this collective research conducted by Colby students and faculty in the summer of 2012 examines what old age means to these urban elderly, what draws them to the parks and community centers, what are their views on living a meaningful life in old age in China today.