What’s Happening to the Social Support for the Elder People in Thailand?

Type Working Paper
Title What’s Happening to the Social Support for the Elder People in Thailand?
URL https://iussp.org/sites/default/files/event_call_for_papers/Abstract for​IUSSP-Sutthida-Teeranong_0.pdf
In the present, Thais can live much longer. Phenomenon of population aging in
Thailand can be seen from the increase of life expectancy at birth, from less than 60 years in
1970s to about 73 years in 2011 (IPSR, 2011). According to the 1960 census, there were
about 1.2 million people aged 60 years and over (NSO, 1962), which accounted for 4.7
percent of the total population of 26 million of Thailand. The number of people aged 60 and
over in the Thailand reached 8.5 million in 2010, which was 13 percent of the total
population of 65.9 million (NSO, 2011).
This situation is accompanied by changes in family household structure and living
arrangements. Thai family size has declined from 5.6 in 1960 to 3.6 person in 2010 (National
Statistics Office, 2010). The number of Thai elderly living in skipped generation households
has been increasing. The socio-economic factor is one of the main factors that lead to the
migration of Thai people at labor age group and the change of household structure.
In Thailand, the case of children living outside of their households has become a
common due to the consequence of migration (NSO, 2005). The grandparents living with
their grandchildren only are found significantly in some households as we called skipped
generation households (Park, 2005).
According to Thai norms, elderly should be looked after by their family and relatives
(Chayowan, Knodel, &Siriboon;, 1990). Support for elders is an important social tradition in
Thailand that concerns the living arrangements with others people in the family (Knodel,
Amornsirisomboon, & Khiewyoo, 1994). If elderly receive more support, they seem to have
a better life. A study by Suthichai and others (2001) found that the support of elders is the
most important condition no matter whether those considerations come from the elder’s
expectation such as support in the case of illness, and financial difficulties.
Nowadays, the role of grandparents is being redefined. In contrast, the elderly persons
may act as supporters. They give their support in terms of objects like clothes and food for
their children and grandchildren especially money (Wongsit & Siriboon, 1998). Furthermore,
elderly women who live alone tend to suffer from most of the conditions of living
(Prachumchana, 2001). In some households in rural areas, the elderly live only with
grandchildren. Increasingly, grandparents, rather than playing peripheral roles in the lives of
their grandchildren, are becoming responsible for raising them.
According to the change of household structure and the pattern of social support for
the elder people in Thailand, this study aims to investigate the situation of social supports for
elderly person in Thailand.

Related studies