Distinction in Old Age: Challenges Awaiting Local Authorities in Contemporary Turkey

Author/s: Özgür Arun, Çağrı Elmas

DOI: 10.16917/iusosyoloji.291221

OnlineFirst published on December 31, 2016

Year: 2016 Vol: 36 Number: 2

Abstract

The demographic transition in Turkey indicates that the next one-hundred years will be a century of women and older adults. During this process, the quality and accessibility of services provided by local authorities will affect the welfare of all citizens (including women and older adults). A refined analysis of the various populations will provide local authorities with a chance to gain further insight and understanding in order to revamp social policies and services. Under the scope of this study, older adults’ demographic characteris- tics, health status and services accessibility, social relations and support mechanisms, “will to live,” partici- pation in cultural activities, and use of the Internet are discussed socially in terms of the intersectionality of income and educational levels. The Antalya Aging Study (AAS), conducted in Antalya in 2013, was a cross- sectional study that consisted of face-to-face interviews with 381 people, 55 years of age and older. Under the AAS, a standard questionnaire consisting of seven modules was implemented over participants selected as representative of Antalya using the random sampling technique. According to findings from the analy- sis, the majority of the lower classes consist of young seniors (55-69 years). While the percentage of older women from lower classes was found to be 33%, men’s percentage from lower classes was 3%. The findings also show that disease, disability, and psychological problems are more common among lower classes. On the other hand, the will to live among upper classes was higher; they also participated in refined cultural activities and used technology more frequently. The intersectionality of factors such as gender, age, and class have a critical effect on the aging process. Therefore, when local authorities plan services for citizens with a lifelong history of limited opportunities, inequalities must be taken into consideration. One noteworthy conclusion of this study is that while lower classes need direct financial support to improve their social status, middle classes require health and social care services.

Keywords
Class • Cultural capital • Bourdieu • Gender • Intersectionality • Baby boomers

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