Varieties of Independent Living: Older Women in the Netherlands, 1982

Wils, A.B. & Wolf, D.A. (1989). Varieties of Independent Living: Older Women in the Netherlands, 1982. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-89-080

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Everywhere older people sooner or later come to suffer disabilities that make independent living difficult. In the IIASA countries, the majority of these old people are unmarried women. When and if they give up living alone because of their disabilities, it is found in other studies that they tend to live with or receive help from their children, if they have any, particularly daughters.

The Netherlands shows a variant that appears to be the effect of extensive government construction of residences for the aged. These are specially designed for old people, including ramps instead of stairs, refrigerators and other equipment made easy to use. The availability of such residences permits a large portion of the elderly women who are disabled in one way or another to continue to live independently. Correspondingly, in the Netherlands, disability is a much weaker determinant for living with children than in some other countries.

Of those elderly women who do live with a child, the majority now live with unmarried sons. Since it is hard to visualize sons cooking and making beds for their aged mothers, we may suppose the mothers are continuing their traditional role -- i.e., looking after their sons as well as themselves. This indicates that elderly women who might otherwise be in need of care are now able to continue to live independently thanks to special arrangements coming from the government, while elderly women able to give care continue to do so.

This paper is one in a series of country case studies dealing with the effects of kin patterns and health on the household composition of older women.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:59
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:13

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