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1 jethwa-presentation

  1. 1. Unrecognised aspect of Mental well being within Ageing population of South Asian origin in UK0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 1 2 IFA 11th 4 Global Conference on Ageing 30th May 2012 - Hansa Jethwa
  2. 2. Introduction Ageing is considered to be an important aspect in today’s world0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups in UK is 7.9% of total population. The BME population of over 60 is mere 360,000 (2001 Census) and 1 2 over half of this population is composed of South Asians (SA) and within this Indian Community have the highest percentage of those 4 over 60 years compared to all other minorities. (2001 Census survey) The SA group is comparatively a much younger, however, they have considerable health and social care needs and these occur in a comparatively younger group of older people than white older people. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  3. 3. Introduction –Cont. • Most SA arrived to UK in 50s and 60s as very young skilled workers0011or as ‘refugees’ from previous British colonies 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • On the whole, over the last five decades or so, the SA communities are fairly settled in UK and despite overt and covert racism and 2 acculturation stress, they are overall reported to be better adjusted 1 • Having worked and brought up their families in UK, this first 4 generation is reaching old age. • The research shares the outcome of a small scale study on the perceptions and expectations of this group of ageing in UK. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  4. 4. Target Group • People of South Asian origin, of age 50 and above,0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 who had migrated to the UK as a young adult and had lived experience of minimum 30yrs in the UK, and had brought children up in UK. 1 • The information presented today is gathered through 2 4 conducting in- depth individual interviews of people attending Day care and those living in residential as well as warden assisted homes(16: 8males+8 females). H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  5. 5. Research Questions • Initial experience/difficulties faced in settling0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 in UK and in raising their children • Expectations/obligations of/from children 1 2 • Their understandings of family and perceptions of changes. 4 • Their own understanding of the impact on their mental and physical health, on the process of ageing and • Their expectations of future. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  6. 6. Initial experience/difficulties faced0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 Difficulties cited were in relation to jobs, housing, problems starting afresh in a new environment, not knowing the system, putting 1 up with abusive situations particularly in relation to ‘curry smell’ and building up relationship with 2 the host community. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012 4
  7. 7. “Coming here with qualifications but having difficulties to get the right job”…. “working long hours” and “waiting for a bus when it is very cold and dark” in a very alien0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 environment .. “no one spoke to me” and “I did not understand what they 1 2 were saying or shouting about” Living in “very cramped conditions and poor houses” 4 “Tremendous pressures on learning English Language” “Getting the right kind of food in those days” H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  8. 8. • Research indicates that moving house is one of the most stressful event in ones’ life. All of the0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 people interviewed had moved the country and some in very traumatic circumstances. 1 • The further impact of stress has been in making a home in an environment which has been alien 2 4 (in terms of culture and climate) and hostile (in terms of racism faced at all levels). H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  9. 9. Expectations from adult children • All respondents had traditional images of0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 families as one of a cohesive, extended family, all living ‘under one roof’ which included elderly parents. • All respondents felt that having fulfilled their1 2 duty as parents, it was the duty of their adult children to support them and take over general running the household. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012 4
  10. 10. • 75% (12) of those interviewed did not have0011 0010 1010 adult children living with them their 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Of these 83% (10) had not come to terms with 1 2 not co residing with their adult children. 4 • All expected more support from their children, especially their sons rather than their daughters. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  11. 11. “Traditionally we expect the boys to look after the family home and take care of the parents as they become weak and unable to look0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011my son to look after me and his after themselves”. “Expected mother” “If I need looking after, I feel that it is best that this looking after is by my own son and his family as that is where I would get the best 1 2 help” “They (children) are focussed and only busy in their own lives, and do not care” 4 “I thought it would be a liberating experience once I have brought up children instead life has turned to be a very lonely experience; feel like jailed in with no prospects other than deteriorating health and worry as to who would look after me” H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  12. 12. • All respondents expressed some degree of shame and disillusion when their adult children chose to live separately in a nuclear household and felt sad that they could not look to their children for0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 support.. “my son and his children do not live with me …I try and 1 2 forget everything …and not talk about this…children do not understand this” 4 “…..(Crying), loneliness is the biggest problem” “when I come here (day centre), it passes my day but nights are difficult sometimes”. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  13. 13. • All respondents seem to have few outlets to express this distress.0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Out of 75% who lived separately from their children, 83% were not happy with their life style. 1 2 • Life satisfaction is a good indicator of the mental health status and a popular measure of subjective well being (Zang & YU 1998) • However, discussions of distress was seen as 4 stigmatising and with the fear of being seen as inferior and there was a degree of denial of distress H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  14. 14. Perceptions of changes • All respondents identified changes in cultural values and traditions particularly0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 - eating habits - beliefs around divorce and marriages 1 2 - more emphasis on individualist thinking instead of thinking of wider family as unit 4 - respect for elders and - lack of regard for family honour. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  15. 15. “Food was a big problem – my daughter in law preferred pasta and pizza everyday and not roti and shak”0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 “Independence is cultivated here in this country .. and as a result encourages children to live together with each 1 other without marriage … and this is not considered shameful ! – morality is diminishing in our culture” 2 4 “living in a nuclear family is encouraged here and older people are not seen as part of family or relevant” H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  16. 16. • All felt upbringing here (UK) and western education has contributed to0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 this shift in values. “they are encouraged to speak their mind from Infant Schools onwards” 1 2 “why.. why...why… this is all you seem to hear.. We never dared to asked that of our parents” 4 “We have lost our children here.. and they have lost the ability to think of wider family as a unit” H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  17. 17. • The 15% (2) who seemed to have come to terms with living separately from their children looked at the wider perspectives0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 “Children do understand their duty towards their parents but 2 circumstances (meaning jobs) lead them away from home.” 1 “We need to be realistic in our expectations; they have pressures 4 of standing up to their white counterparts and we cannot hold them back by giving extra responsibilities that their white counterparts do not have.” H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  18. 18. • Two respondents, who were living in residential or sheltered home exhibited a renewed sense of0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 identity and felt that they now had a place where they were able to live out their lives on their own terms. 1 “Before I came here I was moving from one son’s home to the 2 4 other and looking after the grand children and expected to do all the housework. Here I have my own time to worship and go for ‘satsang’ when I like and not living under the obligations of my son or his family.” H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  19. 19. Impact on mental health • The concepts of isolation and0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 shame exhibited a level of depression • Mental health in particular 1 2 4 depression was not clearly acknowledged. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  20. 20. I worked very hard, leaving Uganda and starting all over again here, looking after my in-laws and raising the children, giving them all they wanted. I am not sure that they (children) even understand… It was a0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 time when we were called names, told we smelt of curry…Our children can never do what we did for our parents….” 1 “Coming here (day centre) passes my time meet other people and have some satsang…. At home I will be 2 4 sitting alone starring the wall” “I tell my wife to keep busy and not think too much about children… this is the reason why we come here and I have become a volunteer here.” H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  21. 21. The expectations of future • Most of the respondents yearned to live together0011 0010 1010their children and be in a position to receive with 1101 0001 0100 1011 support, love and respect from their children and not to be isolated. • All the respondents were very pessimistic about the 1 2 future and feared that the social networks were breaking down irretrievably. 4 • “We have gained economically but have lost in terms of our selves and no one seem to care.” • Isolation, loneliness, poor mental and physical health were the biggest fear. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  22. 22. One thing that you would ideally want as you grow older • “Want my children to live together with me” (2) • “To get love and respect from the children” (2)0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • “To die in my own home with my children around me” • “Would like people around me when I die” • “To not have to live in a home for old people” 2 • “If I need help I would rather this was given by my own children instead of being cared for by strangers” • “Not be isolated” 1 4 • “To be with someone to share your pains and pleasures” • “To be independent” • “To be physically fit and not have to rely on anyone else” • “No expectations” (2) • “Live life happily and not feel ashamed”. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012
  23. 23. To summarise Emerging themes0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Realities of living alone and coming to terms with the concept of living away from the adult children • Loss of ‘culture’/reference point • Depression 1 2 4 • Deep Stigma of living alone (real & perceived) • Impact on status, ostracism and the shame felt as a result of not co residing with children or being cared for by their sons. H.Jethwa (c) Prague 2012