The views of older Chinese people in Melbourne about their quality of life Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper reports the findings of a study using both quantitative and qualitative approaches of the quality of life of older Chinese people in Melbourne. A total of 60 participants was recruited: 30 were residents of three Chinese hostels and 30 were members of a Chinese welfare society. Along with the established scales of health status, functioning and self-reported life satisfaction, to give a broader perspective the participants were asked about their general health, level of depressive mood and independence. In-depth interviews were conducted with a convenience sub-sample of six informants to explore other important aspects of their quality of life. The hostel group was found to be less healthy, less independent, more depressed and less satisfied with their lives than the community group, but nonetheless were generally satisfied with their lives, as revealed during the in-depth interviews. A good quality of life was found to be associated with good health, independence, secure finance, a meaningful role, strong ethnic community and family support, low expectations, no worries, and a sense of the family's love and respect. The findings reinforce the notion that the quality of life is truly multi-dimensional. They also demonstrate that a high self-rated quality of life in old age is achievable and, indeed, was being enjoyed by most of the participants. The research has made a substantial contribution to understanding the circumstances of Chinese-origin older people in Australia and has useful lessons for studies of other ethnic groups.

publication date

  • January 2004