The Nature of Ageing in Rural Indonesian Communities: The Effects of Ethnicity, Gender and Social Class

The Nature of Ageing in Rural Indonesian Communities: The Effects of Ethnicity, Gender and Social Class

This research aims to examine the current health status of older persons across regions in rural Indonesia and how it varies across social class and socio-demographic groups of ageing population in the different socio-cultural backgrounds. It also aims to investigate the influence of ethnicity and culture in determining living and care arrangement for rural older adults as well as the extent to which informal and formal providers interact and complement each other in the provision of care to the elderly.  Data is drawn from the 2015-2016 Ageing in Rural Indonesian Survey (ARIS). This study found the health status of older persons varies significantly by gender, ethnicity and class. The ethnographic content analysis and critical discourse analysis explain the influence of culture on the health variation. The higher prevalence of female disability and illness might reflect gender inequality in the community. Ethnicity depicts kinship system that provides the basis for household, family recruitment and support system. Kinship system is likely to be a key factor in determining the quality of life of older persons. Ethnicity influences the type of living arrangement of the elderly. In a bilateral kinship system, there is no significant difference between male and female children to co-reside with their elder parents. In contrast, in patrilineal communities older persons are significantly more likely to co-reside with their son. As a result, there is a gendered pattern in care and support provision for older persons, particularly who are caring and what type of care is provided to the elderly.  The culture also shapes the gendered nature of social welfare programs for older persons particularly posyandu lansia program. Considering cultural background is a must to improve the services to older persons in rural areas.

Muhammad Ulil Absor is a PhD student at The School of Demography The Australian National University. He is an affiliated student of The Ministry of Religious Affairs of The Republic of Indonesia (MORA) and Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research. (CEPAR).  

Date & time

Fri 01 Jun 2018, 3:00pm to 4:00pm


Jean Martin Room, Beryl Rawson Bldg 13, Ellery Crescent, ANU


Muhammad Ulil Absor


Susan Cowan
6125 4273


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