International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss


The Future of the Elderly Care in Spain and Taiwan: The Cultural Background
José Eugenio Borao Mateo

Spain and Taiwan are two countries with a similar social history: economic development in the sixties, democratization process in the eighties, economic growth in the nineties and now enjoy a similar GDP per capita. Accordingly, the evolution of the population in both countries has experienced a similar trend, moving fast from a high birth rate to the lowest possible. Additionally, life expectancy has been extended creating the problem of the elderly care, that at the present is not very sever, because in both cases strong family ties are a real help. Other similarity is that in both countries has arisen the phenomenon of hiring foreign labor and domestic helpers to care of the sick elderly. But, some differences can be pointed out: in Spain the pension system is more developed that in Taiwan and has slightly more institutions to take care of the severely sick old people, although this country has important tax deductions for children with parents over 70 year old. Finally, there is the difference of culture: Spain is a Catholic country in a process of de-Christianization, while Taiwan is a traditional Confucian society where traditional values like filial piety are also in the process of eroding. The aim of this paper is to compare in both societies how families provide care for their elderly; what are their expectations from the government; how the cultural background is decisive in making care decisions, and finally how the low fertility rates threaten seriously all the existing living arrangements. The conclusion is that regarding the aging aspect of the elderly care problem Taiwan has more practical cultural resources to
deal with, while regarding the fertility aspect of that same problem, Spain has more possibilities to adjust to it.

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