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From Whom Do Older Persons Prefer Support? The Case of Rural Thailand


Rittirong, Jongjit; Prasartkul, Pramote; & Rindfuss, Ronald R. (2014). From Whom Do Older Persons Prefer Support? The Case of Rural Thailand. Journal of Aging Studies, 31, 171-181.


This study explores rural elderly preferences for support across a multi-dimensional measure of elderly care needs. Applying a framework developed in the U.S. to Thailand for the first time, five diverse types of support are considered: meal preparation, personal care, transportation, financial support, and emotional support. The emphasis is on preferences for care and not actual care received. The data are from focus group discussions conducted in seven villages in Nang Rong district, northeastern Thailand. Thailand and the study site represent the social and economic conditions faced by many rapidly industrializing places-where there has been a dramatic demographic transition (lowered fertility and substantial out-migration), growing numbers of older persons remaining in rural settings, and limited publically-financed elderly care or market-based elder care available for purchase. For this study, in each village, male and female older persons aged 60 and over participated in the focus group discussions. As part of the discussion, focus group participants were asked to rank their first four preferences by type of support. Male and female older persons' preferences were slightly different for genderized tasks. In addition, social closeness and geographical proximity mattered. Traditional matrilocal residence patterns contributed to the perceptions of the older persons. Neighbors were preferred when kin were not available. Preferences inform strategic choices by older persons given the context of available resources. Understanding preferences and strategic choices among the older persons can help policy makers tailor programs more effectively and efficiently, without jeopardizing elderly well-being.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Aging Studies


Rittirong, Jongjit
Prasartkul, Pramote
Rindfuss, Ronald R.