Eldercare and Gerontechnologies

The Eldercare and Gerontechnologies project is a multidisciplinary research collaboration with colleagues in anthropology, sociology, social work, and public health at Fudan University in Shanghai. This collaborative work extends beyond hospital walls to investigate how technologies of caregiving intersect with processes of aging and dying in urban community settings. China has the world’s largest elderly population and is also one of the most rapidly aging societies in the world, posing a critical problem for China’s elderly care system. Although the family tradition has been responsible for taking care of aging elders, institutional forms of elder care are beginning to emerge. Both the public and private sector are experimenting with services such as nursing homes, community health centers, aging-in-place models, hospice facilities, and geriatric medical programs, among others.

Dr. Priscilla Song, Professor Honglin Chen, Professor Tianshu Pan, and their colleagues at Fudan University have assembled a multidisciplinary team of researchers to map eldercare practices and policies in five Shanghai neighborhoods. Their research has been supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, the China National Social Science Foundation (国家社会科学基金项目), and the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at the Institute for Public Health at Washington University. Based on interdisciplinary research, they have published articles in English and Chinese on a variety of topics including the professional identity of community-based caregivers for older adults, an analysis of eldercare policy implementation in Shanghai, and the challenges of developing an eldercare workforce in urban China.

Selected Publications

Honglin Chen, Hui Yang, Priscilla Song, Lu Wang. “An Ambiguous Sense of Professional Identity: Community-based Caregivers for Older Adults in China.” Ageing International 42(2): 236-250 (2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12126-016-9266-2

陈虹霖 [Honglin Chen], 王璐 [Wang Lu], 宋柏萱 [Priscilla Song]. 《欣慰与无奈的交织:社区老年照护者的照护体验及社会工作介入初探》 [Gratification and Frustration: Ambivalent Experiences of Community-Based Eldercare Providers and the Role of Social Work Intervention]. 华东理工大学学报(社会科学版) [Journal of East China University of Science and Technology] 142(3): 47-55 (2017).

Chen, Yanyan, Honglin Chen, Priscilla Song. “Promises and Pitfalls of Integrating Home-Based Health Services into Shanghai’s Eldercare System.” Journal of Ageing and Society 40(3): 480-500 (2020). http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X18001095

Zhong, Xiaohui, Priscilla Song, Zhe Wang, Honglin Chen. “Resilience-Building among Chinese Family Caregivers of Older People with Parkinson’s Disease in Shanghai.” Health and Social Care in the Community (2021). http://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13679

Workshops and Panels

“Tianzifang Shanghai Eldercare Symposium.” Co-organized with Honglin Chen and Tianshu Pan. Fudan-WUSTL Global Aging Initiative Project (Shanghai, China, 11 December 2015).

“Shanghai Eldercare and Global Aging Conference.” Co-organized with Honglin Chen. Fudan-Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) Global Aging Initiative Project (Shanghai, China, 16-17 June 2016).

“Confronting the ‘Grey Tsunami’: Caring for Rapidly Aging Populations in Urban East Asia.” Co-organized with Honglin Chen. Society for East Asian Anthropology Conference (Hong Kong, 19-22 June 2016).


Family Caregiving: Cross-National Issues and Potential for Collaboration. Invited talk for Global Aging Initiative, McDonnell Academy 5th International Symposium, St. Louis, USA (17 October 2014).

《从医学人类学视角探析中国老龄化与照护面临的挑战》 (Analysing the Challenges of Aging and Eldercare in China from an Ethnographic Perspective). Plenary lecture for 第二届亚洲医学人文菁英训练营:老龄化与照护 (Second Faculty Training Program for Medical Humanities in Asia: Aging and Caregiving), Shenzhen, China (10 November 2018).

“An Ethnographic Perspective on the Limits of Home-Based Medical Care for the Oldest Old in Shanghai.” Invited talk for conference on “Palliative Care in the Community.” Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex (25 May 2019).