Lifetime relations with children and wellbeing in old age. Qualitative research in a socially excluded neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Unversity of East Anglia

It is widely assumed that contact with children is beneficial to older people’s wellbeing, particularly in developing country settings. This study assesses the validity of this view, drawing on 22 life histories of older women and men in a socially excluded district of Buenos Aires. The study focuses on informants’ subjective accounts of their lifetime relations with children and grandchildren, and examines the role of these relationships in their current wellbeing. Informants speak about the anxiety and harm caused by struggling children and of remote relationships with more successful children. We conclude that, in comparable settings of social exclusion, relationships with children can be as much a source of vulnerability as of support for older people.

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Presented in Session 105: Family, health and well-being of older people in poorer countries