BioScience Trends. 2017;11(5):507-515. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2017.01234)

Social support and care needs of the disabled elderly population: An empirical study based on survey data from Beijing, China.

Hao XN, Gu J, Ying XJ, Bo T, Fu W


In order to describe and examine differences in social support and care needs among disabled Chinese elderly, the current study used stratified sampling to survey local residents of Beijing age 60 or over in the districts of Xicheng, Chaoyang, and Tongzhou in 2016. Structured in-person interviews were conducted with a 7-domain questionnaire. Multiple logistic regressions were used to compare social support and care needs among functioning, partially disabled, and completely disabled elderly. All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS 19.0 with a significance level of 0.05 (two-sided). One thousand and eightythree residents completed the survey. Based on Activities of Daily Living (ADL) scores, 736 (68.0%) respondents were functioning (ADL score = 14), 167 (15.4%) were partially disabled (14 < ADL score < 22), and 180 (16.6%) were fully disabled (ADL score ≥ 22). Most of the disabled had formal financial support, they received daily care at home, and they received modest emotional support. After controlling for confounding factors, fully disabled respondents were 2.35 times (p = 0.018) more likely to receive financial support and 3.65 times (p = 0.003) more likely to receive emotional support than functioning respondents. However, the fully functioning and partially disabled did not differ significantly in terms of financial or emotional support. Compared to fully functioning respondents, partially disabled respondents were 0.49 (p < 0.001) times less likely to be fully satisfied with their daily care while fully disabled respondents were 0.37 (p < 0.001) times less likely to be fully satisfied with that care. The current study provided a thorough depiction of the current status of social support and care needs of disabled Chinese elderly. More attention should be paid to social support for the partially disabled and daily care for both the partially and fully disabled.

KEYWORDS: Disabled elderly, social support, population aging

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