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Care Networks in Later Life: A Comparative Study of Indonesia

Project status
Dr Elisabeth Schroeder-Butterfill
Institution web page
Host institution
University of Southampton
Team members
Dr Elisabeth Schroeder-Butterfill, Prof Yvonne Handajani, Prof Eef Hogervorst, Dr Philip Kreager
Funding information (if funded)
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Project Summary

How can the care needs of older people be met in sustainable, fair and culturally acceptable ways? This project aims to answer this question in relation to Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest population. It seeks to understand what care needs older Indonesians have; who provides care; what acceptable care looks like; and how care-dependent people are perceived. The project involves ethnographic research in five diverse communities, combined with collection of household survey data and analysis of existing national-level surveys. The research sites are located in West Sumatra, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, East Java, and Alor.

Three ideas are central to this study. First, we consider care a cultural practice: culture shapes preferences for care providers, what counts as acceptable care, and what being dependent does to a person’s social value and identity. This is why we use ethnography to situate care in its cultural context and compare ethnic groups across Indonesia. Second, care is provided by a mix of family, neighbours, health-care providers and volunteers. This is why we collect data on people’s complete care networks over time. Third, we understand that older people differ in terms of gender, wealth, and family networks. This is why we collect information on people’s economic, demographic and social status and compare care among sub-groups.

Outputs / Expected Outputs

Publications; stakeholder dissemination events within Indonesia and Southeast Asia; training and information events for informal carer, older people and healthcare volunteers


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Care Networks in Later Life: A Comparative Study of Indonesia