10.2 Intergenerational split? The Turkish elderly parents and their adult children

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 9:15 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Gulcin CON , Sociology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Sibel KALAYCIOGLU , Sociology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Contemporary Turkish population is still young but rapidly aging. The proportion of the elderly to the total population in Turkey is currently 7 % and is expected to reach 9 % in 2023 which means 8 million elderly as a result of the decrease in fertility rates and improvements in mortality rates. The Turkish state’s policies regarding this rapidly growing elderly population have always been based on the hypthosesis of high intergenerational reciprocity and solidarity within the society. This hypothesis enabled the state’s emphasis on the family as the site which aged people can rely on in meeting their needs, both material and emotional. However, due to a series of economic crisis Turkey has been passing through, the resources of families to support their elderly members have diminished. In addition, the transformation of the traditional Turkish family structure and the increased participation of the female family members in the marketplace resulted in a change of preferences within the new generations regarding their relations with the elderly parents. The reciprocal bonds between the parents and their offsprings have lost the previous strength and as a result elderly care is left without a responsible institution in the absence of the family as a traditional site of care. This research focuses on the transition of the Turkish family institution with respect to family bonds between elderly parents and their offsprings. The ambivalence theory is crucial to understand the changing nature of intergenerational relations within the Turkish context. A qualitative analysis of the actions, motives and believes about the care needs of the elderly members within the Turkish families is employed within this research. Special attention is given to the differences within different SES groups. In this respect, the outcomes of this research are going to be presented.