Rapid population ageing in many Asian countries including Thailand has led to increasing public concern about the vulnerability of the elderly. In addition, gender has been identified as a factor that might worsen the situation among older women, especially their quality of life. The processes of socialization, socio-economic development, as well as cultural setting are likely to have a cumulative impact on their life course, especially during old age. In particular, gender differences may lead to differing ability between men and women in preparing themselves for quality ageing. Insufficient or poor preparation for old age may degrade the quality of life as well as the ability of older people to contribute to society. Past studies tended to investigate the factors influencing preparation for old age, but rarely linked the preparation process with active ageing.
According to the World Health Organization, “active ageing” has been defined as the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age (World Health Organization 2002). In this sense, the word “active” refers to the ability to be physically active by participating in the labour force as well as by continuing participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual, and civic affairs. Active participation in social activities by older persons not only increases their quality of life in terms of maintaining their autonomy, independence, and dignity, but also promotes intergenerational relationships and increases their contribution towards sustainable development in an ageing society.
This chapter presents gender differences in the preparation for old age and investigates the relationship between preparation for old age and active ageing among the present and future cohorts of male and female elderly in Thailand.
Two sets of national surveys have been used for the analysis in this chapter. The first data set is the 2007 National Survey on Older Persons in Thailand conducted by the National Statistical Office.