• residential care;
  • Chinese people

A qualitative study was designed to explore the perceptions of residential care placement among elderly Chinese people in Hong Kong. Content analysis of the semi-structured interviews with 20 community residents aged 60 years or over revealed that elderly people in Hong Kong generally had mixed feelings towards such placement. While they believed that residential care was an unavoidable alternative to family care in their later lives it was an important source of fear in their later years, especially for those who perceived their health as deteriorating. Residential care homes were generally seen as the ultimate ‘dumping place’ where one would ‘idle till death’ and the quality of care provided in these homes was anticipated to be problematic. It was found that most of these beliefs were formed as a result of indirect experience through ‘listening to stories of neglect or abuse from friends and relatives whose relatives were residential care home residents’. Implications for professionals working with elderly people are discussed in the light of these findings.