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Inequality in Later Life in Rural Indonesia: Filling the Gaps to Meet The Needs of Older Persons
Little research attention has been given to the unequal situation of rural Indonesian older adults as a consequence of the demographic transition. This study aims to examine the current condition of older people in rural areas and its intersection with their environment across socio-demographic groups: how inequality is produced, what is the underlying cause of inequality and how to improve the existing system in fulfilling the needs of older people. Data is drawn from the 2016 Ageing in Rural Indonesia Survey (ARIS). Guided by old-age vulnerability theories, inequality is identified by identifying the perception of older people of the outcomes that they seek to pursue and avoid during their old age. Inequality in later life refers to the differences in health; the standard of living (economic well-being); access to social rights and available care support from children. This study found that there is inequality in the life situation of older people across regions, ethnicity, social class and gender. I argue that the family support systems and the community and welfare systems govern the experience of inequality in old age. The family system through the division of labour in the household, the community system through the work environment and opportunities in accessing resources and the organisation of the welfare system, contribute to the inequalities. These systems, which are largely constructed from social and religious norms, produce the expected roles and needs of the elderly that in turn influence their overall well-being. As these systems determine inequality in later life, there is a need to address these underlying causes of inequality as well as focussing on medical interventions.
Muhammad (Ulil) Absor presents his research for his final milestone.