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7 - All my responsibilities towards my children are over! Linked lives and life course obligations among older adults with migrant children in India

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

This chapter investigates how life course obligations, expectations and practices are linked to older adults’ sense of well-being. Linked lives, which is one of core dimensions of the life course approach, recognises that life trajectories of individuals are socially embedded and closely linked to the transitions of the significant others (Elder, 1975, 1985; Dannefer, 2003; Moen and Hernandez, 2009). The studies that have examined linked lives in the context of migration (Bailey et al, 2004; Cooke, 2008) tend to focus on western countries or on internal migration (Mulder and Hooimeijer, 1999; Thomas et al, 2017). However there are some new studies emerging on international migration (Kou et al, 2015, 2017; Statham, 2020). Some strands of work in Asia focus on transnational families (Yeoh et al, 2005), aging in diasporas (Lamb, 2002, 2009; Fluit et al, 2019) and marriage migration (Charsley, 2005; Gallo, 2006; Shaw and Charsley, 2006; Gardner, 2009; Le Bail, 2017). In non-Western multi-generational co-residential families the determinants of well-being need to be evaluated in relation to the reciprocity and support exchanged between older adults and other family members (Ugargol and Bailey, 2020). In our study the concept of linked lives is translocal and broadened to include older adults in migrant households, their adult children (co-residing or migrant children), grandchildren, caregivers and non-kin social networks. The focus in this chapter is on how the broader well-being of the older adult is linked to the life course obligations of older adults towards their families. This chapter also discusses how we can better contextualise life course decisions and trajectories in non-Western settings.

Living arrangements, migration and care

The population aged 60 years and older in India constitutes over 7 per cent of the total population (1.21 billion) and is projected to triple in the next four decades, from 92 million to 316 million (James, 2011). In the past, the family has been the major source of support in later life. However, increased mobility may challenge the continued reliance on family in the future. Jamuna (2000) finds that in the Indian ethos elder care was generally seen as a duty of the adult children, which meant the primary caregiver was usually the daughter-in-law.

Type
Chapter
Information
Care for Older Adults in India
Living Arrangements and Quality of Life
, pp. 118 - 139
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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