China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Whereas public discourse on eldercare in China continues to focus on the traditional filial expectation for adult children to take care of their aging parents, in reality spousal eldercare also plays a very large role in familial eldercare in China today. Drawing on in-depth interviews conducted during home visits with over thirty spousal caregivers in Shanghai between 2012 and 2018, this paper examines the meanings of spousal eldercare in a low-income neighborhood with a high concentration of seniors in Shanghai. The analysis shows how many of these Shanghai seniors place a great deal of value on being as self-sufficient as possible for as long as possible so as to not burden their children and how their reasons for taking care of their spouses range from a sense of having no other choice to a feeling of reciprocal obligation to feelings of love cultivated over a lifetime.