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Westerners increasingly retire outside their home countries, and some venture to developing nations. A growing number go to Thailand, usually after working there or after many tourist visits. The present study examined currently and formerly resident Western retirees in Thailand, with a focus on their reasons for migrating to Thailand, their wellbeing and perceived assimilation, the reasons why some leave, and their long-term welfare needs. The principal data source was an online survey of 152 current and former retirees in Thailand. The major reported motives were low living costs, a warm climate, to escape a disliked home nation, like of the Thai lifestyle and culture, and the availability of attractive sexual partners. Most survey respondents had a Thai spouse or live-in partner. The move apparently works out well for most, at least initially. They report positive wellbeing and feel assimilated, but most live with visa insecurity and their assimilation may be partly illusory, as many reported socialising mainly with other foreigners. The major long-term concerns of Western retired men in Thailand are their health-care and welfare needs, income problems, increasing negative local reactions to the influx of Westerners, and the possibility of visa cancellation that would enforce a move elsewhere.
Older men are becoming more visible in care-giving research but there are still few studies that focus expressly on the extent to which care-giving has made positive contributions to their life and has been rewarding. Drawing on data from in-depth personal interviews, this Portuguese study analyses the positive statements in the personal descriptions of the care-giving experience of 53 elderly men who were caring for chronically-ill wives. It also explores the differences between the positive references made by the men who were caring for a wife who had dementia and those made by men whose wives had physical impairments. Using open coding and content analysis, positive aspects were identified in 32 of the 53 care-giving situations. The most prevalent themes were ‘satisfaction’ and ‘perceived social honour’. The findings show that positive returns from the caring experience and role were strongly associated with previous good marital relationships and the husband's good self-rated health, and manifested in both specific coping strategies and global and situational meaning-making processes. The study demonstrates that much more can be learnt about the positive dimensions of care in older men's lives, and that such understanding can inform and strengthen formal and therapeutic support.
The aim of this study is to examine the means by which men on the verge of retirement create continuity or bridges between their past and present in their autobiographical narratives. Based on Whitbourne's ‘lifespan construct model of adaptation’, 56 Israeli men on the verge of retirement were asked to relate their ‘life stories’ and ‘life scenarios’ (their vision of the future). Their bridging strategies were examined using qualitative structural analyses, focusing on the ‘crossovers’ to the future in the ‘life stories’, and those to the past in their ‘life scenarios’. The findings show three main bridging patterns in the life stories and three in the life scenarios. Each was associated with differences in the ways that the men were coping emotionally with the transition to retirement, and pointed to the different ways by which they used continuity to cope with the anxieties aroused by their impending retirement. After trying to account for the greater frequency of bridging attempts in the ‘scenarios’ than the ‘life stories’, the discussion elaborates on the different bridging strategies and their associated features. The findings suggest that the identification of crossover patterns in life stories and life scenarios may be a useful tool for assessing a person's coping abilities and adjustment to difficult transitions.
This study extends previous research on the profiles of social relations in three ways: (1) by including both functional and qualitative characteristics of social relations; (2) by examining the association of these profiles with mental and physical health and mortality; and (3) by exploring these profiles and associations in two cultures. Using samples of approximately 500 adults aged 60 or more years from the Social Relations and Mental Health over the Life Course studies in both the United States and Japan, separate cluster analyses were conducted for each country. The common or shared network types were labelled ‘diverse’, ‘restricted’, ‘friend-focused’ and ‘family-focused’, but in the US we found two types of ‘friend-focused’ networks (supported and unsupported) and two types of ‘restricted’ networks (structurally- and functionally-restricted). In addition, we found a unique network type in Japan: ‘married and distal’. Multivariate analyses of variance and Cox regressions revealed that whereas individuals in the functionally restricted network type had the worse physical and mental health in the US, Americans in the structurally-restricted network type had the lowest survival rates at a 12-year follow-up. Interestingly, there were no wellbeing differences by network type in Japan. The findings have been interpreted in the light of social relations theories, with special emphasis on the importance of taking a multidimensional perspective and exploring cultural variation.
Negative stereotypes not only affect how older people feel about themselves, but also how younger people feel about old age and their prospect of growing old. The research reported in this paper has examined the negative and potentially harmful stereotypes of older people portrayed in magazine advertisements in the United States, as perceived by groups of older and young people. Q-methodology sorts of 40 advertisements with negative images of older people, along with personal interviews, were used to probe older people's and college student's feelings and attitudes about the images. The subjects were placed in four categories: ‘moralists’, ‘objectors’, ‘ageing moralists’ and ‘resentfuls’. Regardless of whether stereotypes were used, the older people liked the advertisements that showed them as being clever, vibrant and having a sense of humour. Neither the older people nor the students liked advertisements that ridiculed or poked fun at older people, or presented them as being out of touch with reality and unattractive. Both groups rated the stereotypes dealing with the real problems associated with ageing as inoffensive. The comparison of the two age groups showed a strong consensus about which images were acceptable and which offensive.
This study examined intergenerational family contact. Three questions were considered: Is there a relationship between parent's class, child's class and family contact? Can class-related differences in family contact be explained by differences in geographical distance between parent and child? Is intergenerational family contact affected by children's social mobility? The questions were explored using data from a nationally-representative level of living survey. The results from logistic regressions showed that parent's class as well as the child's class were associated with intergenerational geographical distance and family contact more often than once a week. Those in or retired from non-manual occupations were less likely than manual workers to live close and to have family contact more than once a week. We found no evidence that a change in class position, upward nor downward, had any effect on family contacts. Rather, class-stable non-manual families socialise less frequently than other families, even when they live relatively close. The results therefore suggest that familial class-cohesiveness is a stronger determinant of inter-generational family contacts than social mobility. Future research should address the complex connection between social mobility and other forms of relations and transfers between generations.
Gerontologists have emphasised that older adults are not only recipients of support but also important support providers. Using data from the first wave of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study of 727 middle-generation adults aged 45 to 79 years, we examined the associations between loneliness and giving support up, across and down family lineages. Overall, the findings were consistent more with an altruism perspective, that giving brings rewards, than with an exchange perspective, which emphasises the costs of giving support. The results showed an inverse relationship between the number of generations supported and loneliness, and that those engaged in balanced exchanges with family members in three generations (parents, siblings and children) were generally the least lonely. As regards the direction of support giving, the findings showed that the association between giving support and loneliness was insignificant if the support was for parents, negative for support to siblings, and positive for support to children. Imbalanced support exchanges were differentially associated with loneliness, and depended on the type of family relationship involved. Non-reciprocated support made parents more vulnerable to loneliness, whereas non-reciprocated giving in sibling ties was associated with low levels of loneliness. Imbalanced support giving in relationships with parents was not associated with loneliness.