Strategically, eldercare in Tanzania is based on a family based model in which every individual is presumed to be a valued member of a well-wishing family network. This assumes presence of willingness and ability of individual family networks to maintain kinship ties and the traditions necessary for sustaining mutual intergenerational support. Given vast socio-political changes in recent decades, including policy reforms, migration trends, altered educational opportunities, and technological advancements, this study examines how experiences of aging and the provision of eldercare have changed since the time of independence in 1961. Using a life course approach, my research documents lived experiences to examine how willingness, ability, and motivations for caregiving have been transformed over time, while also exploring subsequent policy implications of this knowledge. I employed mixed methods (participant observation, life history interviews, key informant interviews, focus group, and brief questionnaires) to collect empirical evidence from a randomly selected sample of matched pairs of elderly persons and their adult children. Research questions explored included: What is the state of intergenerational relationships and eldercare? Who cares within families (roles)? How and to what extent have "traditional" strategies been sustained over time? To what extent are assumptions upon which policy proposals for the future of elder care are based validated by current trends in families and communities? My findings revealed that the state of eldercare and intergenerational relationships is exceedingly complex and not yet well captured by current aging discourses. Most individuals pursue intergenerational solidarity and desire to provide for their "own". However, in truth, families are overstrained by the burgeoning needs for care. Migration and emergent social challenges, notably a struggling agriculture sector, fosters noteworthy changes in perceptions and reactions to care needs. Younger generations, particularly the "educated", fabricate newer ways of doing family such as modifying family structures and enlarging caregiver networks to include market-based caregivers so as to promote personal social mobility. Gender hierarchies are incessantly contested but women remain underprivileged. As key caregivers, women play poorly recognized and inadequately supported roles within families. Ultimately, this study offers a nuanced description and recommends areas for further research and interventions.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.December 2014. Major: Sociology. Advisors: Ronald Aminzade, Cawo Abdi. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 230 pages.
Intergenerational Relationships and Eldercare in Rural Tanzania: A Life Course Perspective on The Implications of Social Change on Families.
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