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Culture Shift has Chinese Looking to Island University for Help

July 18, 2013

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Culture Shift has Chinese Looking to Island University for Help

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The population of the elderly is sky rocking in China, causing a problem that has officials from China’s Weifang College looking for an answer at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“In traditional Chinese society, the elderly would live with one of their children and there was no need for senior care facilities,” said Dr. Elizabeth Sefcik, Professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.  “That family structure is changing because of family planning laws implemented 30 years ago that limit to one the number of children a couple can have.”

There are currently over 128 million senior citizens in China, or one in every ten people.  That number is expected to be over 487 million people over the age of 60 by 2050, or 35 percent of the population, according to the China National Committee on Aging (CNCA).  People who were limited to one child 30 years ago are now approaching retirement age, many with no one to care for them.   This has made the need for elderly assisted living huge in China, and in a country where families have historically taken care of the elderly without nursing homes,  that need has created another shortage.

“They don’t have a workforce equipped to handle that need,” said Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Dean of Nursing. “Weifang College is trying to change that and we can help by providing their students with the type of specialized education needed to care for the elderly.”

A delegation from Weifang College, which is located near Beijing, visited the Island University Thursday.  They want to send 200 of their nursing students to A&M-Corpus Christi to study nursing and attain a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing.

“We hope to start with 20 Chinese students and offer internet courses to others, while implementing a plan to increase the number,” said Hamilton.  

The officials from Weifang College spent the day at the University touring the College of Nursing and Health Science facility and learning about the College’s cutting-edge programs.  They signed an agreement that allows the two institutions to work together on degree programs, faculty and student exchanges, study abroad, collaborative research programs, seminars and workshops.

“We are very proud to have the types of expertise and nursing programs that are not only recognized for their excellence in South Texas, but also recognized nationally and globally,” said Hamilton.  

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