Attitudes towards bearing the cost of care in later life: evidence from the HSBC global ageing study on the future of retirement.

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Khan, Hafiz T. A. ; Leeson, George W. (2010)
  • Publisher: Middlesex University
  • Subject: social | health

The ageing of population has now been recognised as a global phenomenon. Since the issues are multifaceted ageing has become a subject of interest among multidisciplinary people. Perhaps one of the common key concerns among individuals and family members in societies today is to meet the increasing demand for elderly health care for many countries. As the socioeconomic, demographic and cultural context of individuals‟ vary from one setting to another, the intergenerational support as well as the cost of care responsibility also vary across the globe. In particular, issues related to elderly health care financing and supports are emerging steadily and perhaps one of the dominant topics in social gerontology. The aim of the study has been to examine the effects of age, gender and employment on the perception of people with regard to their cost of care in later life. The data for the study come from the HSBC global ageing study, popularly known as “The Future of Retirement”. The initial field surveys were completed in two successive years 2004 and 2005 in which approximately 22,329 individuals were interviewed who are aged 18 years and over across twenty countries and territories covering four major regions of the world. A cross-sectional survey design was employed in which respondents were selected randomly. Each respondent was asked a battery of questions on their socioeconomic and demographic situations, their retirement and pensions, health, wellbeing and quality of life, and voluntary contribution and intergenerational support. Among others two questions were asked directly on the responsibility of financial cost of care in retirement and they are “who should bear” as well as “who will bear” most of the financial costs of caring in retirement. These questions were then explored as to how the response varied with respect to age, gender and employment status of respondents. It has been revealed that age, gender and employment status play significant role in determining people‟s perception towards the bearing of cost of care in retirement. There has been a significant gap between the attitudes of “should” and “will” bearing the cost of care. Finally, the paper concludes with a brief discussion on policy implications.
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