The Old Mind the House: The Elderly and Their Place in the Modern Minangkabau Family in Indonesia

By Ismet Fanany and Rebecca Fanany.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 10, 2016 $US5.00

The many local cultures of Indonesia are often thought of as being more family-oriented than is usual in western societies and taking a more communal approach to providing care for individuals who require it within the context of traditional family and social structures. While this situation does represent an idealized conceptualization of traditional values, the reality of modern life in Indonesia has often not supported the maintenance of such patterns. This paper investigates the dilemma faced by many Minangkabau families in caring for elderly relatives in modern Indonesia. Based on a large study of aging among members of this ethnic group, it describes the social forces that shape modern Indonesian life and their effects on traditional social structures with a focus on the impact of such change on the experience of older individuals. In the context of increasing life expectancy nationwide, care alternatives for the elderly are required as traditional structures either no longer exist or are increasingly inadequate to accommodate the needs of older people who often have significant health problems. This paper focuses on the way Minangkabau families are addressing the needs of older relatives and the changing experience of these elderly themselves relative to the culturally expected norm of the past.

Keywords: Social Support, Elderly, Indonesia, Traditional Society, Modernization

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 6, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.17-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 10, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 637.015KB)).

Dr. Ismet Fanany

Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia

Dr. Rebecca Fanany

Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia