Social support for the elderly: Implications for holistic social services

Wing Fu Lai, Chung Yee Zenobia Chan

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Social support is an important component in gerontological care. It functions to provide reliable, continuous instruments and emotional support to meet the social and instrumental needs of the elderly. However, with cultural modernity and socioeconomic development, informal supportive networks for older adults were easily undermined or overlooked in modern countries, regardless of the long history of familism in states like Hong Kong and China. This article provides an overview of the importance of both formal and informal social support in gerontological care with a Hong Kong perspective, and explores the implications thereof for holistic social services. Based on a distillation of research findings and for formulation of effective social support practices for the elderly, the following three important areas will be discussed: (1) needs assessment and policy coordination, (2) public education and (3) self-help. We hope that, through extended social services and the lessons learned from Hong Kong, the community awareness of the elderly's social needs could be heightened and appropriate social policy enactment could be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth Issues in Chinese Contexts
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781536112238
ISBN (Print)9781608767236
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine


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