Choosing the right senior living community for yourself or a loved one is often difficult. But, for Chinese Americans, that decision is even harder. Language barriers, religion and cuisine can all be obstacles to finding a suitable community. And there’s also a cultural barrier, with many Asians reluctant to move elderly relatives into retirement facilities.

Attitudes, beliefs and historical practices mean the task of caring for Asian seniors traditionally falls to their families. The AARP found that 73% of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) believe it’s their duty to care for elderly parents. However, attitudes are changing as retirees are shaking off traditional practices, with 38% of elderly Asians now willing to move into a nursing home.

The population of Asian American seniors is growing. In 2019, there were almost 2.5 million in the United States, and this figure is expected to increase to 7.9 million by 2060. As such, senior living facilities and chains are investing millions of dollars to create culturally authentic communities that cater specifically to Chinese American seniors.

This guide discusses the concerns Chinese American seniors, their families and caregivers face when considering senior living options. It provides advice on how to find an assisted living community and lists national and state resources that help older Chinese Americans and their families make the best decisions for their future.

Common Concerns of Chinese Americans Related to Assisted Living

The reluctance of the Chinese American population to consider assisted living is often due to a number of common concerns.

  • Language: Around 42% of Chinese Americans don’t speak English very well, and this percentage is likely to be higher among older generations. Being unable to communicate with staff and other residents could lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness and a fear of being misunderstood.
  • Food Choices: Many elderly Chinese Americans still choose to maintain the traditional diet of their heritage, preferring to avoid American foods. Seniors may be concerned that they will have to change their diets and eat food they dislike in a retirement community.
  • Health Care: A majority of Asian Americans rely on complementary and alternative medicines, such as herbal therapies and acupuncture. Older Chinese American adults are often concerned that doctors won’t understand their values and culture, meaning they’ll be forced to have Western treatments instead of using more traditional practices.
  • Religion: Although 42% of Asian Americans identify as being Christian, many seniors still practice other faiths, including Buddhism and Chinese folk religion. With many senior living communities being faith-based, there’s a concern that Chinese American seniors will be unable to practice their religion.
  • Cultural Stigma: There’s a cultural stigma in the Chinese community around acknowledging mental health and having discussions about long-term and end-of-life care. This makes it hard for families to admit that a loved one requires day-to-day care or for seniors to admit they need help.
  • Finances: The question of how to pay for assisted living is a concern for many seniors, especially Chinese Americans. Many don’t have access to Social Security, an income or are uninsured, while others are unaware of state and federal programs that could help cover costs.

Dealing With the Cultural Guilt of Moving a Loved One to Assisted Living

An AARP study suggests that 42% of Asian Americans aged 45 to 55 already look after their elderly relatives. This traditional practice is considered part of a child’s duty to their parents. So, when considering moving a loved one to an assisted living community, Chinese Americans often feel guilty about going against their cultural traditions. If you have these feelings of guilt, consider the following:

Guilt Is Natural

It’s natural to feel guilty when deciding to move your elder relative to a retirement community. The guilt often comes from the love you feel for your loved one, yet recognizing you’re unable to care for them yourself.

Many people decide to hide this guilt, letting it build until it causes stress and anxiety, which can lead to illness. Take the time to speak to someone about how you feel, such as a friend, spiritual leader or counselor.

Understand That Your Loved One Needs Care

Admit your loved one needs help. It’s possible they may even need 24/7 care or specialist treatment that you are unable to give, either through lack of expertise or because you work, have children to care for or have other commitments.

Assisted Living Provides 24-Hour Care

Assisted living communities are safe environments where your loved one will have access to caregivers at any time of the day to assist them with anything they need. From helping with the activities of daily living to monitoring their health, these healthcare professionals are always on hand.

Your Loved One Will Benefit From an Assisted Living Community

Assisted living offers the opportunity for your loved one to socialize and meet new people. These facilities provide structure and stimulation through organized activities and events that will help your loved one stay physically and mentally active.

How To Choose an Assisted Living Community for an Older Chinese American Loved One

Where To Find Mandarin-Speaking Senior Living Facilities

The below list of communities is not exhaustive, but can give you an idea of your options. The services offered by assisted living communities can change, so always check with the facility to confirm that it has staff members who speak Mandarin.

The Cost of Mandarin-Speaking Senior Living and How To Pay

The cost of Mandarin-speaking senior living is dependent on the level of care required. Rates also vary according to individual facility location, amenities and services offered. As a guide, the average cost of senior living in the United States is as follows:

Care Type

Average Monthly Cost

Assisted Living


Nursing Home: Semiprivate Room


Nursing Home: Private Room


How To Pay for Assisted Living

Chinese American seniors can choose to pay for assisted living in a variety of ways. In addition to paying privately, there are numerous programs and resources that help older adults cover the cost of long-term care.

  • Medicaid Waivers: Medicaid waivers vary from state to state, but often provide financial assistance to low-income seniors to help pay for assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing. Contact your state Medicaid agency for details on the waivers that are offered.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance (LTC): LTC costs, policies and benefits vary by provider. It typically covers the services provided by assisted living facilities that Medicaid, Medicare and other benefits don’t cover.
  • Veteran’s Benefits: Chinese American seniors who have served in the armed forces may be eligible for VA benefits to help pay for senior living. Contact your local VA office for advice and help with accessing benefits.
  • Personal Payment: For those not eligible for federal or state assistance, personal payment is often the only option. Depending on their individual situation, older adults can pay for assisted living by cashing in life insurance policies, selling their homes or using savings, family contributions or retirement income.

National Resources for Chinese American Seniors

Chinese American seniors and their families can access advice and support from a number of national resources. These organizations offers assistance to elderly Chinese Americans, helping them find employment, access health care and connect with national and local resources so they can live with dignity and respect.


Contact Details


(206) 624-1221

COVID-19 Helpline:

- English: (800) 336-2722

- Mandarin: (800) 683-7427

- Cantonese: (800) 582-4218

The NAPCA educates and helps communities and service providers become linguistically and culturally inclusive of Asian seniors. It also provides information and guidance on COVID-19 and offers guided meditation through a helpline that is available in eight languages.

(206) 838-8169

Operated by NAPCA, the Senior Environmental Employment program helps adults aged 55 and older find employment with federal, state and local government agencies.

Online only

The NRCAA is a collaboration between NAPCA and organizations specializing in senior issues. In addition to finding details on local support services, seniors can access technical resources, such as fact sheets, reports and culturally appropriate educational training material on issues, such as healthy aging, elder justice and long-term care.

(888) 832-1888

With offices located in every state, AARP supports all seniors aged 50+, advocating on their behalf and providing information on age-related issues, including health care, insurance, benefits, housing and financial assistance. The organization also provides information and advice on issues specific to Asian seniors through its Chinese website.

AAAJ advocates for the rights of Asian Americans nationwide and ensures older adults are educated on their civil rights through factsheets and other information sources. Seniors can access details of local and community resources that can assist with senior-related issues, such as health care and financial security.

(714) 560-8877

AASCSC helps improve the health of American Asians through advocacy, capacity building and the promotion of health equity for minority communities. Chinese seniors can access a range of direct services, including food delivery, health screening and social engagement activities.

State Resources for Chinese American Seniors

Chinese American seniors and their families can access support from state resources. These organizations promote Chinese culture, help Asian Americans integrate with society and connect seniors with local services to help them plan for their retirement. 






CAAC is dedicated to promoting Chinese culture and serving the Chinese American community in central Alabama. In addition to hosting festivals and events, the CAAC organizes educational seminars for seniors, families and residents.



For more than 45 years, the Alaska Chinese Association has supported the Chinese and wider AAPI community in Anchorage. It organizes events and activities to promote Chinese culture and provides educational functions to the local community, including a Chinese school.


(602) 265-4598

APCA advocates for the health care needs of Arizona’s AA NHPI community. It provides services so Asian American seniors and their families have access to affordable culturally and linguistically appropriate health care. APCA also advises residents on their legal rights, including being able to receive a medical interpreter for free.


(866) 801-3435

Choices in Living Resource Center provides information on support services and resources to help older adults and their families navigate the long-term care system. Chinese American seniors, caregivers and families can call the center for options, counseling and advice on Medicaid; assistive technology; support groups and disability resources.


(909) 383-0164

AARC offers a range of educational and developmental programs to Asian Americans in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Chinese American adults aged 50 years and older can sign up for the Healthy Seniors Program, which provides free health screenings and health education workshops to help older adults improve their well-being.


(303) 923-2920

APDC supports the Asian communities in Colorado through a range of programs. In addition to providing behavioral and mental health services at its Aurora location, the organization runs adult educational programs and helps seniors apply for financial assistance and social services.


(860) 761-7908

Chinese American seniors in central Connecticut can access support through Asian Family Services. Services offered by the clinic are culturally and linguistically appropriate and include individual and family counseling and medication management.


(302) 689-3235

Since 1997, DCAA has served and supported Delaware’s Chinese American community. It hosts clubs, special interest groups, seminars and cultural events throughout the state and helps newcomers assimilate into the community. DCAA also provides free English lessons to Chinese American seniors.


(305) 753-8791

The South Florida Chapter of the OCA helps advance the social, economic and political well-being of the state’s AAPI community. Working in partnership with local and national organizations, it helps Asian Americans enroll for voting and the Affordable Care Act through its cultural and linguistic services.


(770) 936-0969

Based in Atlanta, CPACS offers a range of services to Georgia’s elderly Chinese Americans to help them maintain their independence. In addition to bringing residents together through its Wellness Adult day program, the organization provides home-based services, nutritional advice and benefits enrollment assistance.


(808) 848-1438

KPHC serves the health and social needs of low-income AAPI residents. It operates seven clinics in Honolulu where Chinese American seniors can access linguistic and culturally proficient care, including medical and dental, and social services that provide interpretation services and assistance with health insurance applications.


(877) 471-2777

Idaho’s ADRC helps elderly Chinese Americans make informed decisions about their long-term care by helping them access local information and services. ADRC partners with the Area Agencies on Aging, the Department of Health and Welfare and 211 CareLine to ensure the information is as reliable as possible.


Chicago: (773) 784-2900

Elgin: (847) 289-1138

Based in Chicago and Elgin, CMAA supports Asian residents through programs such as in-home services, social services and free education programs to help improve English proficiency. Older adults can socialize with other seniors at the Golden Age Club, which organizes activities, events and entertainment to improve the well-being of members.


(800) 552-3662

Indiana’s ADRC provides assessments and information on state-funded programs and long-term care services that help elderly Chinese Americans with a range of issues, such as benefits enrollment and insurance options. Seniors can also call the ADRC to discuss their situation with an options counselor.


(515) 242-5655

Part of the Iowa Department of Human Rights, the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs assists and coordinates the efforts of other state departments to ensure the AAPI community is catered to. It also connects Chinese Americans with public and private organizations, programs, agencies and services that can provide assistance.


Kansas City Chinese Association helps improve the lives of Kansas City area Chinese Americans. In addition to organizing cultural and educational programs and promoting cultural awareness, it works closely with other organizations to promote social and economic inclusion for all Chinese American residents.


KYCAA promotes Chinese culture and heritage through a variety of educational programs. The organization also operates the KYChinese Forum, an online platform where Chinese American seniors can connect with other Kentucky residents and share information about local providers and services, such as doctors, therapists and insurance brokers.


APAS supports Asian American seniors in the greater New Orleans area by increasing cultural awareness, enhancing education and bolstering relationships with the larger community. The organization hosts fundraisers and an annual festival to celebrate the diverse Asian cultures and runs outreach projects, including food programs.


(207) 558-2367

UAC supports Maine’s Chinese and Asian communities by providing the support they need to live in the United States. In addition to connecting seniors with local resources, UAC offers notary services, assistance with disability claims and a translation and interpretation service in different languages, including Cantonese and Mandarin.


Based in Rockville, MD, the Greater Washington DC chapter of the OCA helps advance the social and economic well-being of AAPI communities in the region. Its signature programs include events, mentoring opportunities, education and community services to encourage civic participation with local agencies for promoting Asian cultural heritage.


(617) 357-0226

The Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center serves Chinese elders in Boston through a network of offices. Its culturally and linguistically appropriate senior programs include a virtual senior center, adult day health care, education, recreational programs and the SHINE program that provides information and counseling on health care insurance.


(202) 223-5500

The ACA aims to enhance the lives of Michigan’s AAPI communities through educational, preventative health care and social services programs. It also operates four centers where Chinese American seniors can access Medicaid/Medicare assistance and health screenings and take part in recreational and cultural activities.


Chinese Senior Citizen Society of Minnesota

(952) 913-8803

For more than 35 years, the Chinese Senior Citizen Society of Minnesota has supported the state's older Chinese citizens. It provides information and advice on healthy living and civil awareness to help seniors understand American society. The organization also brings members together for monthly activities designed to promote community spirit.


(844) 822-4622

MAC helps seniors and caregivers identify and connect with the local resources they need to plan for long-term care. Mississippi’s Chinese American seniors can also visit their local MAC center for information and assistance in applying for benefits and finding appropriate resources.


(314) 645-7800

Bilingual International in St. Louis provides multilingual services so residents can access medical, mental health and social services. It helps seniors navigate the long-term care system by offering assessment planning, education, information and referrals. Chinese Americans can also meet their peers at regular events held at the organization’s Macklind International Senior Center.


(800) 551-3191

Montana’s ADRC is an online portal where Chinese Americans can find details about state and local resources to assist them with long-term care planning. Providers include health care support, Area Agencies on Aging and legal and disability services.


The NCA serves more than 2,000 Chinese Americans in the greater Omaha region. It helps promote Chinese culture throughout Nebraska, working closely with other organizations. In addition to providing translation and interpretation services, NCA assists seniors and other residents by connecting them with useful local resources.


In addition to promoting cultural values and traditions, Asian American Group aims to educate Asian Americans on political and social issues that impact their lives in Nevada. The group also provides information to help Asian communities broaden their understanding of American traditions to help them assimilate into U.S. culture.

New Hampshire

(866) 634-9412

Chinese American seniors and their families can find information and support services to help them plan for the future via ServiceLink. In addition to connecting residents with local resources, the ServiceLink website features information on Medicare, advice to caregivers and a locator map where seniors can find their nearest office.

New Jersey

(973) 450-4443

AAAHS advocates for the medical and mental health needs of Asian Americans in New Jersey through forums and local fairs where it offers basic health screenings. It provides information and education to Chinese American seniors on Medicare and other entitlements and connects them with other resources and services in the state.

New Mexico

(505) 717-2877

NMAFC provides culturally sensitive services and programs in a range of languages, including Cantonese and Mandarin. Chinese American seniors can access legal consultation, counseling and translation services and speak with case managers who can assist with navigating the health care and benefits system.

New York

The Senior Working Group is a collaboration of local organizations that advocates for Asian seniors in New York. In addition to promoting mental health and preventing isolation, the group helps provide direct services to elderly Asian Americans, including senior centers, food programs and social services.

North Carolina

CAFA helps protect the rights of Chinese Americans and promotes East Asian culture by hosting different cultural events. It also provides information and works with local organizations to help Chinese Americans in North Carolina succeed in U.S. society.

North Dakota

(701) 526-4886

UCAFM helps increase local awareness of Chinese culture and encourages friendships between Chinese American residents to help them integrate into the community. The organization's senior program aims to eliminate isolation by bringing together older adults through a variety of activities, events, excursions and clubs.


Cleveland: (216) 881-0330

Akron: (330) 535-3263

ASIA operates two health-care centers, providing linguistically and culturally competent services to AAPI communities in northeast Ohio. Its aging and adult programs include Medicare fraud prevention, health screenings, benefits check-up and a resource center that helps seniors and their families plan for long-term care.


Oasis aims to support the elderly Asian population of Oklahoma and prevent social isolation by bridging the generational gap. Volunteers become mentors to elders and engage them through conversation and activities.


(503) 235-9396

Located in Portland, the PIAFC offers culturally and linguistically specific services to the region's AAPI community. Chinese Americans can access advice and information on a range of issues, including housing, utilities, community engagement and the health care system.


(215) 572-1234

PASSi helps elderly Asian Americans who are disadvantaged by cultural and language barriers. In addition to providing home care and adult day care, it offers benefits assistance, meal delivery and runs the Evergreen Center in Pennsylvania, where Chinese American seniors can take part in educational, social and recreational activities.

Rhode Island

(401) 274-8811

CSEA promotes the heritage of Southeast Asians in Rhode Island. Seniors can access a range of services to help them remain active and plan for their future, including financial counseling, benefits assistance, health awareness workshops, English language classes and recreational and exercise programs.

South Carolina

(800) 868-9095

Operated by the South Carolina Department on Aging, GetCareSC helps seniors connect with resources in their local communities. The website also provides information and guidance on their different services and how they can help older adults and caregivers.

South Dakota

(833) 663-9673

Dakota at Home is an online information and referral service where Chinese Americans can find the resources they need to plan for the future. Seniors can search the online directory or call Dakota at Home to receive options planning to help them identify the most suitable service providers.


(866) 836-6678

Tennessee ADRC helps Chinese American seniors and families find the information and assistance they need to make informed decisions about long-term care. The website lets users search by provider type or location. Those unsure of the resources they require can use the Needs Assessment Tool to help.


Greater Houston’s Chapter of the OCA operates programs throughout the region to promote Asian culture and arts and support AAPI residents at every stage of their life. It advocates for social justice and runs educational workshops, legal clinics, citizenship forums and civic engagement programs to provide seniors with voting assistance.


(801) 467-6060

The Refugee and Immigrant Center helps improve the life of Asians in Salt Lake City by providing them with the skills and support they need to become active members of society. Programs include ESL classes, interpretation services, social services and culturally based therapies.


(802) 241-0294

Vermont’s ADRC provides information and reports for Chinese American seniors, their families and caregivers, enabling them to make informed decisions on long-term services. It works in partnership with other agencies to operate a “no wrong door” policy, reducing the need for seniors to contact multiple agencies to find support.


AASoCV organizes and participates in community events and initiatives to promote the cultural diversity of Asian communities. It advocates for equal representation and helps Asian Americans integrate into society while maintaining their ethnic traditions, identity and culture.


(206) 695-7600

ACRS supports the well-being of AAPI residents by providing and advocating for multilingual and multicultural community services. Chinese Americans aged 55 and older can find advice on healthy aging, including assistance with health insurance, legal issues and long-term care planning.

West Virginia

Dunbar (304) 720-6861

Fairmont (204) 363-1595

Petersburg (304) 257-2947

Princeton (304) 425-2040

The West Virginia ADRC helps Chinese American seniors access services and programs to help them plan for their future. Older adults can download the Senior Resource Guide or arrange to speak directly with fully-trained staff at one of four office locations.


(414) 344-6575

HAFA works to improve the lives of Asians living in the Greater Milwaukee area. Seniors aged 60 and older can take advantage of the Elderly Outreach Program, which provides transportation assistance, translation services and needs assessments. HAFA also refers to and connects seniors with resources and services in the community.


(800) 442-2766

The Wyoming ADRC helps Chinese American seniors, families and caregivers locate and connect with information and resources in their local area.

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