Background Bangladesh has a long tradition of looking after the elderly by offspring or family. But rapid socio-economic transformations, changing social values have broken down the traditional extended family system. Many elderly people now stay in old age homes, mainly based in Dhaka, run by non-government organisations or as a charity.
Aim This paper explores the scenario of the elderly’s reasons for living in old age homes, coping with new environments and satisfaction about old age homes, and to sensitise the policy makers for designing and implementing appropriate programs for the elderly in Bangladesh.
Methods Elderly (65+ years) living in two old age homes (n = 56) in Dhaka were interviewed. Reasons for staying in home and satisfaction etc. along with socio-demographic information were collected.
Results Almost all came from better off families, 47% male and 53% female. 68% of men and 36% of women were retired mid and high level officials. Reasons for coming to elderly home were problems with kin (63%) or with children (9%), children living in abroad (5%), no one to take care of them at home (67%), burden on the family (24%), properties occupied by others (27%). Children or relatives visit them (87%). 92% are satisfied with overall management of old age home.
Conclusion Elderly people living in old age homes are mainly from better off urban middle-class and rich families. It does not reflect the real situation of the elderly in the society. The old age home is a new idea or one answer of the elderly in a society in transition. It demands further wide ranged research; however findings reflect the indication of the growing rift between generations.
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