Thursday, March 29, 2007

Turkey: many seniors choose institutional care over family care

A survey conducted by the Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHCEK) reveals that a majority of senior center residents have living relatives but that they prefer to live in centers because of a lack of care from their relatives. The research was carried out in connection with the Project on Reducing Social Risk (SRAP). It also estimates that 9 percent of the Turkish population will be over the age of 65 by 2010. Nearly half, 45 percent, of participants in 63 senior centers in 46 provinces noted they were from rural areas. A majority of them are widowed and undereducated; 59 percent of the survey participants did not even finish primary school. However, the research also shows that those who are waiting for admission are relatively better educated; 90 percent of male senior center inhabitants and one in three females were previously employed. More than half of surveyed seniors do not benefit from any social security or pension system.

According to the research, 85 percent of respondents have at least one living relative, whereas 14 percent have none. Half of the seniors who have one relative noted they were able to see their relatives at least once a month and half indicated they were being financially supported by their relatives. Thirty eight percent of center residents who have been living there for a relatively long time described the center as "home," 20 percent as "place to live in," and 22 percent as "a residential place with hard conditions." Their stated reasons for living in the centers are "difficulty in living alone," a wish "not to be a burden on the family," "inability to take care of [him/herself] in daily life" and "health reasons."

Read more in Today's Zaman.

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