Persistence and Change in the Living Arrangements and Support of Thai Elderly
Survey and census data on the living arrangements of the elderly and their linkages with related aspects of material exchanges and contact with their children indicate that a widespread and functioning familial system of support and care for the older population has been maintained in Thailand despite rapid social and demographic change over recent decades. Although difference in samples and data collection methods make arriving at firm conclusions impossible, there is some suggestion in the most recent available data that literally defined coresidence of elderly parents with at least one child in the same dwelling unit may be declining. However, this does not appear to represent an erosion of the support system judging from the fact that daily contact with older parents and non-coresident children almost fully compensates for this decline. It may rather reflect a tendency to buy more privacy for both generations by establishing nearby households, a possibility made more affordable by rising incomes, while retaining sufficient proximity to permit maintaining essential aspects of traditional inter-generational obligations of care and support.