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3 - Emerging living arrangements of older adults in India: patterns and welfare implications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 October 2022

Ajay Bailey
Affiliation:
Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
Martin Hyde
Affiliation:
Swansea University
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Summary

Introduction

In India, the pattern of living arrangements of older adults is of immense significance as families are seen as the major source of care and support. Hence, any changes in family structure are assumed to have potentially serious consequences for the well-being of older adults. Living arrangements have significant consequences on long-term care, economic, physical, social and psychological well-being of older adults. It is increasingly recognised that the intersections between various forces of development have had an impact on older adults in India. Two major forces of development of significance are i) demographic and epidemiological transitions, such as reduction in fertility and increase in life expectancy of adults, and ii) migration, both domestic and international. Although there is wide-spread speculation that these forces of development are responsible for bringing about changes in family structure, primarily in the living arrangements of the older adults in India, the findings have not been empirically supported. However, if the claim is indeed true, it has significant consequences, as the family has been historically thought of as the primary place in which to age. This chapter is a step towards exploring the various living arrangements of older adults in India. The second aim is to assess the various factors associated with these living arrangements. Further, the chapter also looks at possible welfare implications of patterns of living arrangements of older adults.

This chapter draws on data from the UNFPA, India-sponsored research project on ‘Building Knowledge Base on Population Ageing in India’ (BKPAI). This project was coordinated by the Population Research Centre (PRC) at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore, the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), Delhi, and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. As part of this study, a survey was carried out in seven states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal – which have a higher percentage of the population aged 60 years and above compared to the national average. The survey collected information on 9,852 people aged 60 years and above drawn from 8,329 households. The minimum criteria for selecting a household was that at least one older person was living in the household. It was the first time that a comprehensive knowledge base has been made available exclusively on older persons in India.

Type
Chapter
Information
Care for Older Adults in India
Living Arrangements and Quality of Life
, pp. 25 - 42
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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