Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Attribution of Elderly Responsibility in Relation to Income in Qatar

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Attribution of Elderly Responsibility in Relation to Income in Qatar

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduce the Problem

Historically, care of elderly has been in the bounds of close family members (Lee, Parish, & Willis, 1994). In modern days, increasing social and economic woes, has changed the typology of elderly care. The increased work hours, demand for flexible and mobile labor force and commuting to work conditions have allowed for greater reliance on public and governmental support for care (Haberkern & Szydlik, 2010). Many social pressures felt around the world and in particular in the Middle East are challenging the intergenerational ethos were now families are out-sourcing family care (see for instance Doumit and Nasser. 2010 in Lebanon). But even with these conditions, intergenerational affinities still predominate in most cultures. Many sociologists point out to the "family-filial" relation there is a crowding effect and normal for the family to provide care for the elderly when the welfare state has the primary role of the financial provider (Daatland & Lowenstein, 2005; Motel-Glingebiel, Tesch-Roemer & Kondratowitz, 2005; Sundstrom, Malmberg & Johansson, 2006). The intergenerational care in most Arab countries is generally very high, not because of a legal obligations but of normative behaviors in which there is a mutual support in the family. In contrast with many Western and individualistic societies care in many Arab countries is generally still a family matter (Naldini, 2000).

From the past time, the rise of the family emerged with humanity in cooperation, regeneration and continuation (Gough, 1971). The family in modern times, especially in the Arab world is structured around subordination and domination. Two to three decades ago the confinement of women in homes and creation of the small nuclear family women had found their role organized around structures and responsibilities, especially for children and elderly care. However, in modern day, prolonged care ceases to be a basis for women subordination with the availability of community, public or private nurseries and care homes and permissibility of shared responsibility with men. Extensively women and men have shared care through supportive social institutions. And the family remains an essential component of modern day social organization. The transformation of the family has allowed for a vast qualitative leap forward in cooperation, purposive knowledge, love, and creativeness. Thus, care between family members may be a "human gift for personal love that will make some form of voluntary, long-term mating and of individual devotion between parents and children to continue indefinitely" (Gough, 1971, p. 770). Even responsibility of dependents is now emerging alongside public responsibility for domestic tasks and specifically for the care of elderly. The family remains an essential organization having support from the public and welfare government agencies.

1.2 Qatar as a Context

Qatar is a welfare state and one of the wealthiest in the world. It provides financial and economic incentives for its citizens (CIA, 2014). Qataris constitute less than 20% of the population, and the remaining population includes expatriates/laborers mostly coming from the sub-Indian region. The government of Qatar provides financial support to needy Qatari family members especially the elderly, widowed or disabled. However, with the growing work burdens and the strain of modern life, there is some evidence of the withering of the family unit. In many households, both men and women are in the workplace and the care for dependents, especially elderly, is left to hired domestic care (Shah, Badr, & Shah, 2012). There is a great need to address the wellbeing of elderly and dependents in situations where family members are less likely to have the time and energy to care for them. Many family members may forego care of dependents of elderly as they may feel that they have no responsibility to care for the elderly and are less likely to do so because they think others in the family or government have equal responsibility. …

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