Advertisement

Care and Support Arrangements Among Elderly Residents of an Urban Slum in Tamil Nadu State, India

  • Gayathri BalagopalEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

For the socio-economically disadvantaged elderly who have aged with multiple deprivations, the onset of old age is marked by ill health, difficulties in functioning for some, coupled with decline in their already meagre economic resources and changes in their family composition (like loss of spouse). The ability of elderly to cope with old age and illness depends not just on their functional and financial independence, but also on care and support that they receive from family, state, non-governmental organisations and private-for-profit sector. This research investigates caregiving arrangements among the elderly based on primary data from a field survey conducted in 2005 in an urban slum in Chennai. The findings reveal that though co-residence rates with immediate family members and frequent face-to-face contact with non-resident children were high among elderly respondents, it did not translate into high social care provision for the elderly, as most were able to carry out ADL independently even if with some difficulty. Given the fragile economic condition of the elderly, majority of them received economic support. Among those who received care and support, family involvement was substantial, and the role of the state was significant in economic support (social security pensions) but absent in social care provision. Social care displayed gender asymmetry, with women providing bulk of care to the elderly, whereas most of the care recipients were elderly men. However, elderly women seem to be better resourced in terms of social networks to deal with old age, as they received care from diverse sources, unlike elderly men, whose predominant source of social care was their spouse. The gender asymmetry in caregiving has to be redistributed among other family members and the state, with a need to plan for formal, home-based care mechanisms for the elderly, in addition to universalisation of social security pensions for the elderly.

Keywords

Elderly Slum Morbidity Caregiving Escort to health facility Care at home Economic support Caregiver 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Gayathri Balagopal is an independent researcher. This paper is based on the author’s unpublished PhD Thesis entitled ‘Morbidity, Medical Treatment, Social Care and Economic Support of the Elderly: A case study among the urban poor in Tamil Nadu State, India’, 2009 (2009) at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai. The author wishes to acknowledge her PhD supervisor, Prof K Nagaraj and Reserve Bank of India for a fellowship during the PhD. This chapter is a modified version of a paper presented at a conference: 17th Biennial Conference of Association of Gerontology, India (AGI), and International Conference on Engaging and Empowering the Elderly (ICEEE-2014) during 15–16 September 2014, at Centre for Development Studies, Kerala.

References

  1. Abe, A. K., (2010). The changing shape of the care diamond: The case of child and elderly care in Japan, gender and development programme paper No. 9. Geneva: UNRISD.Google Scholar
  2. Balagopal, G. (2009). Unpublished PhD thesis entitled ‘morbidity, medical treatment, social care and economic support of the elderly: A case study among the urban poor in Tamil Nadu State, India, Madras Institute of Development Studies, University of Madras.Google Scholar
  3. Census of India. (2001). Age data 2001. New Delhi: Government of India. http://www.censusindia.net.
  4. Census of India. (2011). C-13 tables single year age data—(India/States/UTs/District) (Total, SC/ST). New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
  5. Eeuwijk, P. Van. (2006). Old-age vulnerability, ill-health and care support in urban areas of Indonesia. Ageing and Society, 26, 61–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Government of India. (2016). Elderly in India: Profile and programmes. New Delhi: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.Google Scholar
  7. Grundy, E. (2006). Ageing and vulnerable elderly people: European perspectives. Ageing and Society, 26, 105–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Irudaya Rajan, S., Mishra, U. S., & Sarma, P. S. (1999). India’s elderly: Burden or challenge?. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Irudaya Rajan, S., & Mathew, E. T. (2008). India. In S. Irudaya Rajan (Ed.), Social security for the elderly: Experiences from South Asia (pp. 39–106). New Delhi: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Lowenstein, A. (2005). Global ageing and challenge to families. In M. L. Johnson, V. L. Bengston, P. G. Coleman & T. B. L. Kirkwood (Eds.), The cambridge handbook of age and ageing (pp.403–412). Cambridge: The Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Lowenstein, A., & Daatland S. A. (2006). Filial norms and family support in a comparative cross-national context: Evidence from the OASIS study. Ageing and Society, 26, 203–223.Google Scholar
  12. Nagaraj, K., & Majumdar, S. (1982). Growth of Madras urban agglomeration, Madras institute of development studies working paper No.25. Chennai: Madras Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
  13. National Sample Survey Organisation. (1998a). 52nd round, morbidity and treatment of ailments, July 1995–June 1996. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
  14. National Sample Survey Organisation. (1998b). 52nd round, the aged in india: A socio-economic profile, July 1995–June 1996. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
  15. National Sample Survey Organisation. (2003). 58th round, ‘condition of urban slums 2002’. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
  16. National Sample Survey Organisation. (2006). 60th round, “morbidity, health care and the condition of the aged”. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
  17. Palriwala, R., & Neetha, N. (2011). Stratified familialism: The care regime in India through the lens of childcare. Dev Change., 42(4), 1049–1078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Peng, I. (2009). The Political and Social Economy of Care: Republic of Korea Research Report 3. Geneva: UNRISD.Google Scholar
  19. Razavi, S. (2007). The political and social economy of care in a development context: Conceptual issues, research questions and policy options, gender and development programme paper no. 3. Geneva: UNRISD.Google Scholar
  20. Registrar General of India. (2005). Census of India 2001, Slum Population, Vol.1. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
  21. Rice, D. P. (1989). “Health and long-term care for the aged”, papers and proceedings of the hundred and first annual meeting of the American economic association (May 1989). The American Economic Review, 2(2), 343–348.Google Scholar
  22. Shanas, E. S. (1979). The family as a social support system in old age. The Gerontologist, 19(2), 169–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Susheela, K., & Nagaraj, K. (undated). Health status and health seeking behaviour among agricultural labourers: A case study of a village in an advanced district in coastal Karnataka, Personal communication.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ChennaiIndia

Personalised recommendations