Intergenerational care and support for the elderly: evidence from Kerala State, India

Daliya Sebastian, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Sekher T V, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Traditionally, the family is the most important institution for supporting the aged in India as even now majority of elderly still live with their families. The families are in a transition from joint to nuclear and changes can be observed in both composition and quality of interaction among the members. The generation gap is widening due to fast changing lifestyles, globalization, migration of young, and influence of diverse ideologies. There are indications that inter- generational relations are undergoing transitions due to social and cultural changes.In this context, the present paper attempts to analyse the intergenerational relations and support for elderly in Kerala State. The main objectives of the study are to understand the elderly’s expectations about the intergenerational support and elderly’s involvement in decision-making process in family matters. The study is based on a survey carried out in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala state. In selected villages, 300 elderly were interviewed from the sampled households. The study revealed that almost all elderly expect support in the form of physical and medical care from their children during old age. About nine out of ten expect financial support and two-thirds expect emotional support. Only a little over one-third of elderly have stated that they are getting the expected support while about half of them felt that they are getting only very limited support. The remaining reported that they are not at all satisfied with the support and care from their children. Elderly women reported to be more deprived of physical, medical, financial and emotional support. With increasing age, the involvement of elderly in consultation on family matters decreases. About half of the elderly have received help from their children at the time of illness. The study revealed that there is a mismatch between the expectations of elderly and the actual support from children.

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Presented in Poster Session 3