Are more Chinese parents starting to deviate from the tradition of living and traveling with their children?

Offspring who take care of their aging parents and are living with them under the same roof are the ultimate sign of filial piety according to Confucianism. However, it would seem that the trend is starting to shift in affluent families living in America, Canada, as well as in China. More and more seniors seem to want to live and travel to places by themselves instead of relying on their children for lodging and support.

Tun presenting the moon cakes to the elders

Tun presenting the moon cakes to the elders in Elders Community Of Yangshuo

Aegis Living is an assisted living and memory care provider that launched a $50-million facility called Aegis Gardens in Seattle. It targets Chinese seniors, especially those who love gambling on the side. The facility has everything that most Chinese people want during their golden years, including a morning Tai-chi exercise routine, Chinese calligraphy sessions, mahjong and bingo game nights, as well as a kitchen dedicated to cooking authentic Cantonese cuisine. At first, everyone was skeptical about the facility because the tradition has always centered on Chinese parents living closely with their family. However, inquiries started to pour in as soon as the construction for Aegis Gardens started.

Another retirement care company called Element Lifestyle is planning to launch a retirement center called Opal Community in the Cambie and the King Edward Neighborhood in Vancouver. Like Aegis Living, it will also offer services that many Chinese seniors love doing such as playing mahjong and bingo. Construction hasn’t even started yet but the company is already swamped with inquiries from the Chinese senior community.

“We are seeing tons of interest in Opal, and we feel bad because we have to tell them, ‘Sorry, we are not taking deposits yet,’” said Candy Ho, Element Lifestyle’s Vice President. “I think part of it is because of the neighbourhood we are in, and it also shows (Chinese seniors) may be breaking a new barrier in the lifestyle they are choosing.”

These communities are high-end as opposed to the regular senior homes we are accustomed to, and are currently being marketed as a “recreational experience.” This recreational experience isn’t only happening in the U.S. and Canada; expensive senior condos with bingo and mahjong nights are also being erected in Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing, and people are buying condo units despite the inflation in housing prices.

The developmental projects of these care companies are working due to the fact that the Asian community makes up most of the population of land-based casinos. Despite the integration of mahjong and bingo games to smartphones and the incentive bonuses that online players enjoy, most seniors aren’t as tech-savvy as their sons, daughters and grandchildren. This is why many seniors still prefer to go to gaming establishments to play games and socialize. Bringing that experience in-house would allow them to play with their fellow seniors and friends, which for many will be a dream come true, hence the massive shift in cultural trends that senior housing companies are now seeing.

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