Elderly Vietnamese Retirees Embrace Independent Living, Challenging Tradition

Vietnamese retirees are increasingly choosing to live independently, challenging traditional multigenerational households. This cultural shift reflects evolving societal norms and has implications for policymakers, healthcare, and families.

Ayesha Mumtaz
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Elderly Vietnamese Retirees Embrace Independent Living, Challenging Tradition

Elderly Vietnamese Retirees Embrace Independent Living, Challenging Tradition

Vu Huu Giao and Nguyen Hong Hanh, two elderly Vietnamese retirees, are part of a growing trend in modern Vietnamese society of seniors choosing to live independently from their children. This shift challenges the traditional model of multigenerational households that has long been the norm in Vietnam.

Giao, a former university lecturer, and his wife live comfortably on a monthly pension of nearly VND15 million (US$599). They enjoy their independence, with Giao pursuing hobbies and volunteering in his free time. Similarly, Hanh and her husband reside in a small apartment and hire help for household chores, allowing them to maintain their autonomy.

Statistics support this emerging trend, showing an increase in the proportion of elderly individuals living as couples or alone. Experts attribute this change to several factors, including the elderly being healthier and wealthier than in previous generations, as well as their desire for privacy and freedom.

Why this matters: The shift towards independent living among Vietnamese retirees reflects evolving societal norms and challenges traditional family structures. As the elderly population in Vietnam grows, this trend has implications for policymakers, healthcare providers, and families navigating the changing dynamics of aging and caregiving.

Giao and Hanh's decision to live independently is driven by a desire to avoid conflicts and not burden their children. The availability of care services and support systems has made it easier for seniors to maintain their independence. Both retirees have made plans for their future care and burial arrangements, further highlighting the changing attitudes towards aging and family responsibilities in Vietnam.

While the traditional multigenerational household model remains prevalent, the increasing number of elderly Vietnamese choosing to live independently marks a significant cultural shift. As Giao and Hanh demonstrate, this trend allows seniors to pursue their own interests, maintain their autonomy, and redefine the roles and expectations of aging in Vietnamese society.

Key Takeaways

  • Elderly Vietnamese retirees are increasingly living independently from children.
  • Factors: better health, wealth, desire for privacy, and care services.
  • Trend challenges traditional multigenerational household model in Vietnam.
  • Retirees can pursue hobbies, maintain autonomy, and plan future care.
  • Shift reflects evolving societal norms and changing family dynamics in aging.