Bezdětnost ve stáří. K sociální integraci bezdětných seniorů
CHILDLESSNESS IN OLD AGE: THE SOCIAL INTEGRATION OF CHILDLESS SENIORS
Childless old age is often directly linked to social isolation and loneliness. This article is based on a qualitative analysis of interviews from a research project on strategies used by the seniors to maintain their personal autonomy, the results of which demonstrated that the informal and particularly the family networks of childless elderly people are not always any less wide or dense than those of other senior citizens. An evident precondition for childless seniors to be able to negotiate old-age support is that they have actively and over the long term cultivated a network in their previous life stages. Nevertheless, it was found that childless seniors display a sense of having superficial and uncertain roots in their wider families, and this suggests a possible difference in how they define their entitlement to more extensive and intensive help from relatives. The author suggests that a normative relationship between the kinds and scope of support offered on the one hand and particular types of kinship on the other may pressure childless seniors to revise their expectations of significant others and their loose obligation to provide assistance, and conversely these seniors may accentuate their own responsibility and the importance of personal autonomy.
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