Elderly Users' Satisfaction: Informing the Development of Community-Based Social Support Programs in Shanghai
With the dramatic increase in aging population and breaking-down family caregiving culture in urban China, it is crucial and emergent to develop a sustainable long-term care system that adequately and sensitively serves the diverse needs of older adults. The Jing’an District in Shanghai has recently implemented a community-based social supportive program, the Le Ling Program (“Happily Aging”), for elders aged 60 and over in the district since 2007. This program consists of total 10 service items, including help with activities in daily living (ADL), such as meal and bathing, with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) such as shopping and housekeeping, as well as with medical assistance such as refilling prescriptions and physical therapy. The purpose of this study, thus, is to evaluate how these elders’ satisfaction with the Le Ling Program was related to their quality of life. The research questions are: 1) How did registered elderly users evaluate the Le Ling Program? 2) How did the Le Ling Program affect their quality of life? 3) Which was the most satisfactory service item for them? This study hypothesizes that the Le Ling Program is positive related with elderly users’ quality of life in general.
This cross-sectional study randomly surveyed 939 older adults who were the registered users of the Le Ling Program through face-to-face, structured interviews in June 2011. Each questionnaire contains 31 close-ended questions and one open-ended question. First, respondents provided their demographic information, such as age, gender, education, income, marital status, and self-report health status. Then, respondents evaluated each service item that they used and their overall satisfaction with the Le Ling Program, using 5-point likert-scales (1 =very unsatisfied to 5 = very satisfied). The study also examined respondents’ utilization of service items combination. Regression was used to analyze data.
Regression analysis identified the association of individual service with the overall satisfaction and estimated the relationship among satisfaction, recommendation, and users’ demographic characteristics. Findings suggested that a majority of respondents were satisfied with the program. In particular, it revealed the coefficient of meal service on overall program satisfaction was the largest. This finding indicated that improving meal service could help to increase the overall satisfaction more significantly than other service items. Respondents’ sharing with tablemates about happiness and sadness with each other was significantly associated with their improvement of quality of life. In addition, communication with staffs during mealtime was also significantly associated with respondents’ satisfaction with the meal service.
Conclusion and Implications:
This study is the first exploratory evaluation of community-based social support programs in urban China. With a consumer-directed orientation, this study reveals elderly users’ satisfaction with the service quality and how the community-based social support programs may influence their quality of life. Respondents’ satisfaction reflects the growing needs for social support of elders in urban China. This study, therefore, illuminates the needs for prompting more community-based social supportive programs for elders to meet both the demographic and social challenges in urban China.