Family experiences related to the decision to institutionalize an elderly member in Taiwan: an exploratory study

Soc Sci Med. 1999 Oct;49(8):1115-23. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(99)00211-7.


Industrialization and urbanization have changed the structure of Taiwanese families. Placing elder family members with impairments in nursing homes has become a new caregiving alternative. However, Taiwanese commonly consider this placement to be a violation of traditional filial obligation. Therefore, institutionalization is a highly sensitive cultural issue. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with nine family members, revealing three major processes in the decision of institutionalization -- breaking harmony, rebuilding harmony and evolution, as well as four important factors that influence the decision -- the quality of the relationship between the elder and his/her family, characteristics of the elder, financial condition of the family and perceived public opinion toward institutionalization. The findings suggest that the decision process in institutionalization is a gradual, fluid, cyclical movement without definite steps.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caregivers
  • Culture
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization*
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Taiwan