Under One Roof; Intergenerational Care For People With Dementia In Singapore-Chinese Families - A Case Study Design

  • May Yeok Koo

Student thesis: Phd


Background: The family-centred cultural construct of filial responsibility forms the core foundation of the traditional mosaic of a typical intergenerational Singapore-Chinese family. Due to modernization, several generations co-habiting within the same household or living in separate households have shrunk to smaller-sized immediate and extended families residing in mostly high-rise apartments. This change has impacted on the social norm of traditional intergenerational Singapore-Chinese caregiving. Currently, there are gaps in understanding the intergenerational Singapore-Chinese families and caregiving in dementia. Only a few studies to date have discussed the intersection on intergenerational family care, but an in-depth exploration of intergenerational Singapore-Chinese families’ cultural beliefs and values is an important consideration when attempting to understand the family and determine their support and maintenance of relational bonds. Aims: The aim of this longitudinal, case study research using a participatory approach was to better understand the everyday caregiving experience of intergenerational Singapore-Chinese families within the context of each family unit living together in Singapore ‘under one roof’. Family biographies were co-constructed with five intergenerational families living ‘under one roof’ during repeated and scheduled visits with each participating family over a period of between six to 15 months. The interviews included the completion of a 23-item structured questionnaire, co-construction of a genogram and ecomap with each family, drawings, audio recordings and digital photographs of the home environment, items and activities. Results: Narrative analysis of the five intergenerational cases resulted in the emergence of three themes that explained and explored the various dynamics in the data, namely: i) Family values, and its supporting sub-themes of culture; religion; and filial piety; ii) Family support, and its supporting sub-themes of timeliness; internal support network; and external support network; and iii) Family bonds, and its supporting sub-themes of relational; closeness and conflict; and challenges. Data analysis also generated a meta-theme ‘Intergenerational Family Connections’ which was supported by three properties: i) Strongly held beliefs and practices; ii) Shared space; and iii) Supporting family togetherness. Conclusion: This study has led to an in-depth understanding of the everyday experience of the intergenerational Singapore-Chinese families of a person with dementia, within the shared context of their family construction. This study makes an original and significant contribution to knowledge through the development of a new theoretical model on intergenerational family connections in dementia care. The findings will better inform formal and informal service providers and policy makers on how best to support and maintain the relational dynamics of intergenerational Singapore-Chinese families who provide care for the person with dementia at home.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHelen Pusey (Supervisor) & John Keady (Supervisor)


  • Narrative analysis
  • Participatory approach
  • Genogram
  • Longitudinal
  • Ecomap
  • Intergenerational
  • Chinese Families
  • Case Study Design
  • People With Dementia
  • Care

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