Aiding and Aging: The Coming Crisis in Support for the Elderly by Kin and State

By John Mogey | Go to book overview

You have a duty to your family if they require assistance. This has been drummed into us since forever, and it is a fact. Because if your family can't tell it to you who the hell can they tell it to? I don't care if you hate your brother, if he asks for help, that's what you'll give him. It's something that's bred into us, and our parents made sure we understood that if anybody needs help in the family, then you would help them. I've got a couple of sisters I'm not all that fond of, but if they ask, that's it. If they weren't family, I would totally ignore them.


NOTES

This research has been supported by grants from Health and Welfare Canada (Welfare Research Program), The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (general research and aging research), The Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Programme in Gerontology of the University of Toronto.

We thank Vincente Espinoza, Kristina Makkay, and Susan Sim for their assistance with this research. We thank Bonnie Erickson, Bernard Farber, Charles Jones, Peter Laslett, John Mogey, Detelina Radoeva, Sebastien Reichman, and Peter Willmott for their advice.

1.
Intimate network members are those whom interviewed respondents "feel are closest to you outside your home." Significant network members are those nonintimates whom respondents "are in touch with in your daily life and who are significant in your life." Intimate and significant network members jointly comprise the respondents' sets of active network members.

See Wellman ( 1979) for the results of the survey; Wellman ( 1982) for a description of the interview and study design. The numbers in this paper differ slightly from those in previous East York papers due to further cleaning of variables (cf., Wellman et al., 1987; Wellman, Carrington, and Hall, 1988). As in our other papers, we generally count "couple ties" as one relationship. See below for a further discussion of such ties.

2.
The questionnaire was a follow-up to the interviews designed to elicit more systematic information about support. The fifteen items asked about whether each network member gave or received a specific kind of support. (The three companionship items were coded from the interviews.) For example, the first item was "Gave help with small household jobs (such as minor repairs to house, car, cottage; small amount of help with household)." For all items, the respondents were asked whether the support has been given to or by them: "You to (Name)" or "(Name) to You." Because we were interested in supportive community, we did not put any time limit on the exchanges. By contrast, many studies relating social support to health ask only about recently received support.
3.
We have not used this dimension in this analysis because a small, specialized number of work mates tend to provide information and contacts about job openings.
4.
The strongest correlation is 0.33 between Emotional Aid and Services (see Wellman and Hiscott, 1985).
5.
Our supposition about the proportion of available kin in these networks derives from Laslett ( 1988) estimates for "20th century England." These show for adults aged 30-65:

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