Social and Economic Support Systems for the Elderly in Asia: An Introduction
Knodel, John E., and Nibhon Debavalya. 1992. "Social and Economic Support Systems for the Elderly in Asia: An Introduction." Asia-Pacific Population Journal, 7(3): 5-12.
This article is the introduction to a special issue of Asia-Pacific Population Journal focusing on the social and economic support systems of the elderly. The issue was produced in response to the need for more solid information on the current circumstances of the elderly in Asia. Empirical studies are presented in the issue covering six of the region's most important countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and the introduction briefly summarizes these studies.
In most Asian countries, the family is the traditional social institution for the care of the elderly who live and work with their children. Most observers believe it is in both the Government's and the future elderly's interest to preserve this familial system of care and support. As a result, interest has increased in formulating policies and programmes designed to ease the adaptation of the swelling numbers of elderly to the on-going process of socio-economic change, to minimize the assignment of responsibility for elderly members to non-familial institutions and to help governments to cope with the potential problems that could ensue. Developing informed policies for the future requires a thorough understanding of the current arrangements for support. Despite its importance, however, systematic research on the elderly and their support systems in developing countries has only recently begun. The articles introduced in this article provide the start for making more solid judgements about matters that will be of increasing future significance.