Initially, Old Age Homes (OAHs) emerged in India as a form of shelter for the destitute older people. However, drastic social changes have necessitated their emergence as a form of living arrangement for older people of varying socio-economic backgrounds. In the context of India’s rapid population ageing, it is important to have a nuanced understanding of the living experience in these homes coupled with the general perception of this emerging model of elder-care. Accordingly, the present study provides both an outsider and an insider perspective of OAHs. Face-to-face interviews (N=39; Males=20 and Females=19) and six focus group discussions (N=24) were conducted with older men and women (>60 years, MAge=71.21, SD=7.42) living in the community and in different types of OAHs in Delhi NCR. The inductive thematic analysis of the living experience in OAHs revealed two themes and four sub-themes - from sundry reasons to new meanings, and the good and the bad comprising physical survival and emotional need fulfilment, amenities and services, good management and staff, and the physical versus psychological environment. The community-dwellers views about OAHs, on the other hand, was encapsulated through three themes viz. A necessary evil, Family as the central site of aging, Government, charitable and paid homes: Differential attitude. Findings will be discussed in light of the gender variations in the data, the contrasts in the insider and outsider views, the improvements needed in OAHs, and the socio-cultural expectations of elder-care as expressed by older persons themselves.
Shilpa Bandyopadhyay, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India
Kamlesh Singh, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India