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TitleThE SitUAtiON OF OldER PERSONS iN MyANMAR
LanguageEnglish
File Size4.3 MB
Total Pages126
Document Text Contents
Page 1

The Situation of Older
Persons in Myanmar

Results from the 2012 Survey of Older Persons

Ministry of Social Welfare,
Relief and Resettlement

Page 2

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East Asia/Pacific Regional Office
6 Soi 17, Nimmanhaemin Road
Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
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www.helpage.org

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claim their rights, challenge discrimination
and overcome poverty, so that they can lead
dignified, secure, active and healthy lives.

HelpAge International
Myanmar Country Office
No 10, Kanbawza Avenue
Shwetaungya Ward No 1, Bahan Township
Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: +951 539 590, Fax: +951 537 539

Printed 2013 HelpAge International

Page 63

The situation of older persons in Myanmar 53

In Myanmar, as in Southeast Asia generally, in-

formal systems of exchange within the family in

the form of services, material support and social

contact play a crucial role in determining the

well-being of the older population (World Bank

1994). The extent and nature of such exchanges,

examined in detail in the following chapter, are

inextricably entwined with living arrangements,

the topic of the present chapter.

Research in a number of countries in the region

underscores the importance to older age parents

of living with their children (Asis et al. 1995).

Household composition is an important aspect

of living arrangements, but it covers only one

part of the relevant situation. Family and com-

munity members who live in close proximity can

serve some of the same functions as those who

co-reside (reside in the same household). In ad-

dition, others at greater distances, especially

adult children, can also significantly contribute

to an elderly person’s well-being (Knodel &

Saengtienchai 1999). Given the central role of

filial support, particular attention is given to co-

residence with children and the location of chil-

dren not in the household.

Almost all persons aged 60 and above in

Myanmar live in households with multiple

persons. As Figure 5.1A indicates, close to 80%

live in households with three or more members

while only 7% live in single person households

and another 14% in two person households. At

the same time large households are not very

common, with only 10% living in households

with eight or more persons. The overall average

household size of older persons is 4.6 members.

As Figure 5.1B indicates, there is little difference

in the mean household size between younger

and older elders or between those in urban and

rural settings. However, men tend to live in

somewhat larger households than women, re-

flecting the much greater likelihood of men

having a living spouse with whom they can

reside compared to women, who are much more

often widowed and thus without a co-resident

spouse.

Figure 5.1 Household size of persons 60 and older, Myanmar 2012

7%

14%

15% 16%
16%

13%

8%

5%

2%
3%

0%

2%

4%

6%

8%

10%

12%

14%

16%

18%

20%

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+

Total number of persons in household

A. Percent distribution of numbers of household members including respondent

Co-residence is an

aspect of living arrange-

ments that receives

considerable attention

as it can benefit both

generations with bi-

directional exchanges

of services and material

support. Another

central concern is the

extent to which older

persons live alone. Soli-

tary living is often

viewed as a disadvan-

tage associated with

Household size and composition

Page 64

The situation of older persons in Myanmar54

Source: 2012 Survey of Older Persons in Myanmar

less frequent interper-

sonal interactions and a

greater chance that

urgent needs for assis-

tance in case of an acute

health crisis or accident

will take longer to notice

than if others are present

in the household. Living

with only a spouse and

no children or other

family members is also of

interest, although it gen-

erally is viewed as less

problematic than living

alone since a spouse can

be a principal source of

4.6 4.6 4.6
4.8

4.4

4.7
4.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

4.0

4.5

5.0

5.5

6.0

60-69 70+ Men Women Urban Rural

All Age Gender Area of residence

B. Mean number of household members by age, gender and area of residence

H
o
us

eh
o
ld

s
iz

e
(m

ea
n)

emotional and material support and personal

care during illness or frailty. When interpreting

measures of household composition, however, it

is important to recognise that measures of literal

co-residence or its absence ignore situations in

Source: 2012 Survey of Older Persons in Myanmar

Table 5.1 Selected measures of living arrangements, by age, gender and area of residence, Myanmar 2012

% co-resident
with a child

% live alone
% live only

with spouse
% live alone or

with spouse only

Total 77.5 6.7 6.0 12.7

Age

60-64 75.3 5.5 8.1 13.6

65-69 77.4 5.6 7.3 13.0

70-74 80.0 6.8 5.4 12.2

75-79 79.1 7.0 3.7 10.8

80+ 77.4 10.1 2.9 13.0

Gender

men 80.0 3.7 9.3 13.0

women 75.7 8.9 3.4 12.4

Area of residence

Yangon & Mandalay cities 81.1 4.0 5.4 9.4

other urban 77.1 5.6 5.2 10.8

rural 77.0 7.5 6.3 13.7

which elderly parents and their children live very

near each other in separate dwellings. Such an

arrangement can meet many of the same needs

of older people as co-residence and is addressed

later in this chapter.

Page 125

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Page 126

HelpAge International
East Asia/Pacific Regional Office
6 Soi 17, Nimmanhaemin Road
Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Tel: +66 53 225440, Fax: +66 53 225441
[email protected]
www.helpage.org

HelpAge International
Myanmar Country Office
No 10, Kanbawza Avenue
Shwetaungya Ward No 1, Bahan Township
Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: +951 539 590, Fax: +951 537 539

Printed 2013 HelpAge International

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