Gender and intimate caregiving for the elderly in Hong Kong

Odalia M H WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyzes the special challenges posed by caregiving provided by adult children to their physically impaired parents and in-laws, particularly as they relate to the issues of gendered eldercare and caregiving stress. Through the use of 16 semi-structured intensive interviews conducted in Hong Kong, we find that the discourses on sexualized and gendered bodies create formidable obstacles to the caregiving process. The sexual taboo in its various manifestations induces discomfit and even repulsion in situations where private parts of the body of the elderly are exposed and touched. Such hindrances create conflicts and stress for caregivers and care receivers alike, especially for women caregivers due to the social expectation that they are "natural" caregivers. Our study suggests that the key to overcoming such obstacles depends on a strong sense of filial gratitude, as well as the successful development of a respectful caregiving relationship between children and parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-391
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy

User-Defined Keywords

  • Gendered eldercare
  • Hong Kong
  • Intimate caregiving
  • Sexual taboo


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