Living Arrangements of Elderly Widows in India: Family Convention, Bad Luck and Abandonment

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In India, issues of gender discrimination and female empowerment have become more prominent in the last several years. Elderly women, specifically widows, are often abandoned or not well cared for by family members and are typically marginalized within Indian society, vulnerable, and susceptible to poverty. This is an exploratory analysis with a research hypothesis asking, who are the caregivers of elderly widows? Statistics indicate that women may be taking on more of a care giving role with elderly widows which in turn may exacerbate the already existing issues of poverty and neglect for this population. The purpose of this study ... continued below

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Wilder, Ann May 2016.

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  • Wilder, Ann

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In India, issues of gender discrimination and female empowerment have become more prominent in the last several years. Elderly women, specifically widows, are often abandoned or not well cared for by family members and are typically marginalized within Indian society, vulnerable, and susceptible to poverty. This is an exploratory analysis with a research hypothesis asking, who are the caregivers of elderly widows? Statistics indicate that women may be taking on more of a care giving role with elderly widows which in turn may exacerbate the already existing issues of poverty and neglect for this population. The purpose of this study was to examine in more depth the factors related to living arrangements of elderly Indian widows using the NFHS-3 (2005-2006) data set. Quantitative methods of secondary data analysis and systematic literature review are employed in this research. sociological factors related to family self-reported living arrangement, age of widow, education, caste, socioeconomic level, religion, and geographic region were analyzed using data from the respondents identified as older widows (N=2,176). Findings indicate 78% report living alone or in non-familial households while 22% reported living in various familial constellations. The odds of living with a relative versus not living with a relative were found to be significant for three variables: age, religion Muslim, and region Northern. Living arrangements for elderly widows in Indian society are determined based on a complex system of logic embedded in a patrilineal descent, family convention, religion, and regional cultural practices. Understanding these complex factors is important in predicting the needs and available services for this population of vulnerable elderly women.

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  • May 2016

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  • June 28, 2016, 4:28 p.m.

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  • Sept. 6, 2016, 2:24 p.m.

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Wilder, Ann. Living Arrangements of Elderly Widows in India: Family Convention, Bad Luck and Abandonment, dissertation, May 2016; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc849664/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .