Gerontology doctoral candidate Cindy Bui will spend the summer of 2023 interviewing older Vietnamese immigrants in Greater Boston about their caregiving experiences—if they’ve cared for their own older family members and what they expect for their own care as they age.
“Migration adds a whole other layer of complexity,” says Bui (left), to questions and decisions around caregiving. By leaving Vietnam, most of her participants will have been removed from their own parents’ experiences of aging and caregiving. Seeing their peers age and make care choices often is their first exposure to the experience, she says.
Bui’s dissertation topic, “The Roles of Caregiving History and Migration-Related Contexts in Long-Term Care Expectations Among Older Immigrants in the U.S.,” connects with her own experiences. She is the youngest of five children of Vietnamese parents and the only college graduate in her immediate family. Her parents are older, nearing their 80s, and had Bui later in life as their only child born in the United States. “I’ve always had my parents’ aging at the forefront of my mind,” says Bui. Her parents are relatively healthy now but likely will turn to their youngest child to help them make decisions about their care, she says.
To support her dissertation research, the UMass Boston Gerontology Institute recently awarded Bui a small grant from a family endowment at UMass Boston that is dedicated to the study of aging Asian Americans. The Samuel Sung-Ching Wu Fund for Research in Gerontology was created three decades ago to “support national and cross-national or cross-cultural research on aging Asian Americans with an emphasis on Chinese and Chinese-American elderly.” The funds will support Bui’s data collection, including recruiting study participants, interview translations, and more.
Samuel Wu served as a general in the Combined Services Forces as Chief of Military Finance. In 1979 Wu founded the Cosmopolitan Welfare Foundation for the Aged in Taiwan. Two years later, he founded the Long Life Home in Taipei. In 1989, he founded and served as chancellor of Long Life College, an educational facility for older adults. He was second vice president of the International Senior Citizens Association (ISCA) and president of the Taiwan’s chapter of ISCA.
Following Wu’s death in 1991, his son, Sing-Yung Wu, MD, PhD; goddaughter L.H. Lily Hwang, MD; and the Long Life Home created the memorial fund. They worked with Yung-Ping “Bing” Chen, PhD, who at the time held UMass Boston’s Frank J. Manning Eminent Scholar’s Chair in Gerontology. (Chen retired in 2009 and died in 2022.) Wu’s tenure with ISCA overlapped with Chen’s service on the association’s board of directors. The two men’s time in the Combined Services Forces also overlapped. Still earlier, Chen graduated from Shanghai High School, which Wu had reactivated in Taipei. Chen led the fund’s creation to affirm the collaborative spirit the two men shared and as a tribute to Wu’s research interests.
Bui’s award is the most recent dissertation mini grant to be awarded from the fund. Her thesis advisers include Jan Mutchler, PhD, director of the Gerontology Institute; Peter Kiang, EdD, professor and director of Asian American Studies in the College of Education and Human Development; and Qian Song, PhD, assistant professor of gerontology, whose research focus looks at migration and health for the aging population.
In May 2023, the Department of Gerontology awarded doctoral student Changmin Peng (left) with the 2022-2023 Gerontology Wu Paper Award, presented annually also from the Samuel Sung-Ching Wu Fund for Research in Gerontology for an excellent original paper focused on Asian-American or Asian older adults, with particular emphasis on Chinese older adults. Peng’s paper, “Physical Frailty and Cognitive Function Among Older Chinese Adults: The Mediating Roles of Activities of Daily Living Limitations and Depression,” was published in April 2023 by the Journal of Frailty & Aging with Peng as first author and three faculty co-authors from UMass Boston Gerontology and the UMass Chan Medical School.