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Access to residential care in Beijing, China: making the decision to relocate to a residential care facility

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2011

School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.
Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
Address for correspondence: Yang Cheng, School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, 19 Xiejiekouwai Avenue, Beijing, 100875, China. E-mail:


The demand for residential care by older people is increasing in Beijing as a result of dramatic demographic and socio-economic transformations. Little is known about the way older people access residential care in the context of Beijing. In this research, qualitative data collected from 46 in-depth semi-structured interviews with residential care facility (RCF) managers, older residents, and their family members in six RCFs in Beijing were transcribed and analysed using the constant comparative method. The findings included the following themes: access to residential care as geographical access, information access, economic access, socio-cultural access, and the socio-managerial environment. Geographical access is influenced by location, distance, and the micro-physical environment and amenities of RCFs. Information access refers to the capability to acquire related information on available resources. Economic access is the financial affordability for the resources. Socio-cultural access is affected by individual attitudes and aggregative cultural values on ageing and care of older people. Additionally, the social-managerial environment such as reputations of RCFs, quality of services, and management mechanisms are also important to the decision-making process. All these factors influence older people and their family members’ decision-making process of which RCF to choose. The research provides a multi-perspective analysis of access to residential care and suggestions on improving the accessibility of residential care for older people in Beijing.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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