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  • Author or Editor: Ajay Bailey x
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Living arrangements and the provision of care for older people in India have been affected by migration. This is particularly salient given that Indian diaspora is the largest in the world. Hence, one can expect the trends in transnational migration to have a particular impact in the Indian context. However, and perhaps more importantly, the chapter will explore the patterns of internal migration within India. This is an important corrective to the focus on transnational migration as levels of internal migration far outweigh the extent of international migration. Therefore, this chapter examines both internal and international migration to understand how families establish, maintain and retain transnational and transregional care relations. In so doing, we draw on 1) theories of migration, 2) global chains of care and 3) life course theories to frame how migration decisions are related to life-course transitions and care provision. The life-course approach focuses on life events and transitions of individuals and the ways in which these events define their life trajectories. In particular, we will draw on the concept of ‘linked-lives’ to show how older people’s life-course transitions, for example going into care, are linked to the migration decisions of their offspring. With increasing urbanisation and migration we will see emerging trends of global and transregional chains of care to supplant and complement care deficits for vulnerable populations left behind, especially older adults.

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For over 60 years the Tibetan refugee diaspora are still residing in ‘temporary’ largely refugee settlements in India. Whereas older Tibetans often still feel a strong attachment towards their homeland, among the younger refugees, who were born in India or moved there at a young age, a more ambiguous and ambivalent sense of belonging is emerging. We examine their sense of belonging through four main topics, namely receiving society receptivity, social capital, economic integration and exposure to the host society. Thirty-nine in-depth interviews were conducted with refugees in the Bylakuppe settlement, and participant observation and photography also supplemented the interviews. The findings of this study indicate that young Tibetans are developing a sense of belonging towards Tibet, India and the West simultaneously – thereby arguing for a more temporal and comprehensive understanding of belonging.

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Landscapes of care/carescapes represent a recently emerging research area in geographies of care. Carescapes are both geographical settings within and across which care takes place and are subjectively experienced phenomena. However, within this field there is still relatively little research on the care needs and experiences of older men. This chapter redresses this by conducting 79 in-depth interviews of older men and their caregivers, collected from homes as well as care homes in Delhi and Kolkata. The analyses reveals that older men’s care needs, which ranged from personal, economic, health to emotional, were perceived to be inadequately addressed in rapidly transforming societies and family structures. However, the practice of intergenerational reciprocal care is strongly gendered and of involved inequalities of power. Here, the care relationships between older men and their caregivers are situated within wider socio-economic relations which influence the power of each other. Caringscapes in the Indian context are deeply rooted in filial obligation and intergenerational dependence, whereby older adults are entitled to receive care from their offspring in exchange for the care they had provided to their children.

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Home is a place marked by many life course events. Home is also embedded with memories, self-identity, sense of security, cherished possessions and family relations. When an older adult leaves their home and starts to live in a retirement facility they have to reconfigure their sense and meaning of home. This chapter examines home ownership and residential changes and the meanings homes have for older adults in Kerala. The chapter addresses three questions: i) what motivates older adults to retain their (previous) home while currently residing in retirement homes?, ii) how do older adults maintain their previous homes? and iii) how do these motivations help to maintain place attachment? Using a unique set of qualitative interviews with residents of care homes, the authors show that health issues, a need for assistance, a lack of security, migration of children, loneliness due to loss of a spouse and a wish to live independently, are the major reasons for older adults to seek an alternative source of residence in the form of a retirement home. Cultural schemas of care and obligations towards next generation motivate older adults in retaining and maintaining homes.

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Living Arrangements and Quality of Life

India’s ageing population is growing rapidly; over 60s constitute 7% of the total population and this is projected to triple in the next four decades.

Drawing on a wide range of studies, this book examines living arrangements across India and their impact on the care and wellbeing of older people. Addressing access to welfare initiatives and changing cultural norms including co-residence, family care and migration, it reveals the diversity of living arrangements, cultural customs and the welfare issues facing older adults in India.

This book offers a crucial examination for practitioners, researchers and policymakers seeking to understand and develop the infrastructure required to meet the needs of older people in India.

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The final chapter draws together the main issues and findings from the wealth of information presented in the previous chapters and reflect on what this means for researchers, social care providers and policy makers in India and elsewhere. Although each chapter makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the impact of the changing living arrangements on the care for older people in India, there are a number of common themes that connect them. The narrative that emerges across these chapters is one that challenges the assumed wisdom about the demographic, industrial and social change on older adults. The chapters in this book tell us a much more complex story about living arrangements and care for older adults in India. Rather than being a single, linear narrative it is a story about the heterogeneity of families, care and migration experiences.

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The hypermobile cities of India stood still with the onset of COVID- 19- induced lockdowns. Public transport services were the first to be suspended, and older adults in particular were instructed not to leave their homes (Press Information Bureau (PIB), 2020). Even with the easing of lockdown and the resumption of limited public transport, older adults were ‘restricted’ from using services as per the pandemic- related advisories issued by the state. Mobility, which is central to active aging, health status, and well- being (World Health Organization (WHO), 2007) of older adults, was affected by this exclusion in the public transport system. The short- and medium- term implications of such lockdown protocols towards the (im)mobility of older adults requires attention. Given the Indian urban transport scenario, the dependence of older adults (particularly those from low- income groups) on public transport and the inadequate public transport infrastructure is relevant to contextualize the pandemic advisories.

This chapter uses the case of Bengaluru city in southern India to highlight how transport protocols issued during the COVID- 19 pandemic impacted older adults’ (im)mobility. Even before the lockdown was rolled out on March 24, 2020, Bengaluru’s public transport system had been struggling to cater to passenger demand. With physical distancing norms in place, which reduced ridership and trip number, it has become more difficult for passengers in general, and older adult passengers in particular, to access public transport. In Bengaluru, a large proportion of older adults are mobile, work in the informal sector, and earn a low income. They cannot afford private transportation and are therefore dependent on public transport (Baindur and Rao, 2016).

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India has one of the most rapidly ageing populations on the planet. There is concern that this rate of population ageing, coupled with the decline of extended families, decreasing fertility rates, increasing life expectancy, widowhood, singlehood or strained intergenerational relationships, will have a negative impact on the availability of (family-based) care for older adults in India, resulting in poorer health and well-being. However, India is a complex and diverse country made up of different states, castes, cultures, and ethnic groups. Moreover, rates of population ageing are not uniform as Indian states are at diverse levels of demographic transition and vary to a great extent in their cultural practices, social norms and socio-political contexts. Indeed, while India’s older adult population has now risen to 8.57 per cent, in states such as Goa and Kerala the percentage of older adults is as high as 11.20 per cent and 12.55 per cent respectively. This introduction provides an overview of these issues by situating the subsequent chapters within the broad demographic trends already mentioned and gives an outline of the structure and chapters of the book. This chapter introduces the need for focus on living arrangements and care and highlight the social, economic and cultural contexts that shape the provision of care for older adults in India.

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Insufficient social security systems make families primarily responsible for providing support to older adults in India. Increased mobility of adult children, fewer siblings and increased longevity of older adults are some of the demographic changes influencing care arrangements in Indian households. This chapter applies a qualitative research approach to examine the evolving nature of care frameworks for older adults in the Indian context. This is done through examining the changing household living arrangements and complexities that exist in identifying caregiving motives and primary caregivers to older adults, especially in an emigration context where older adults are left behind. This chapter serves to initiate dialogue on the negotiated intergenerational contract that seems to have evolved in the background of changing family situations and modernisation, however, serves to still make possible reciprocal support exchanges between older adults and their adult children. Findings from this study indicate that adult children from emigrant households are responsive to parental needs of support and find ways to effect supportive exchanges and care arrangements. The intergenerational care arrangements reflect the emigration event-led adaptation of family and household structure to retain traditional familial ties and enable mutually supportive exchanges between adult children and their parents.

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This chapter investigates how life course obligations, expectations and practices are linked to older adults’ sense of well-being. It takes a life course approach with a specific focus on linked lives. Linked lives recognises that life trajectories of individuals are socially embedded and closely linked to the transitions of significant others such as family members. Moreover, it is important to see linked lives as translocal as they include older adults in migrant households, their adult children (co-residing or migrant children), grandchildren, caregivers and non-kin social networks. To explore these issues qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 37 older adults. The participants included couples, widows and widowers. Participants in this study include both older adults co-residing with kin and older adults residing on their own. The results show that life stages and expectations of successful transition from one stage to the next was perceived as crucial for the offspring and for the older adults. The chapter observes that economic security, social support, health and better living conditions aid in realising the life course obligations and contribute towards the overall well-being of the older adults.

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