This chapter tries to compare the social settings of elders within intergenerational relationships in Colombo, Sri Lanka and urban Holland. It mainly focuses on the so-called ‘private contract’, while occasionally referring to the so-called ‘public contract’. Finally, it refers to some preliminary results of visiting senior homes in Colombo of all religious backgrounds, while mainly focusing on the women inmates of two established Buddhist homes in Colombo (in total, data from 27 homes were collected).
These terms have been taken from the comparative study of Akiko Hashimoto on elders in US and Japan (1996). With the public contract, the focus is on the elder as a citizen and forms of state or commercial provisions. With the private contract, the focus is on the relations an elder has with family, a wider circle of friends, neighbours, acquaintances and community. For me, the value of Hashimoto's approach is her perspective of viewing the two contracts as a continuum – the public contract and policymaking equally being part of the social–cultural realm.
Comparison and Intergenerational Relations
Akiko Hashimoto's comparative study on Japanese and American perspectives on ageing provides a framework within which to reflect on expectations of family relations next to expectations of governmental services, both of which are (partly) taken for granted within one sociocultural and political context. Thus, specific sociocultural settings (can) differ in certain crucial respects.