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Title: Perceived negative and positive impacts of redefining older persons in Thailand
Authors: Rossarin Soottipong Gray
Umaporn Pattaravanich
Chalermpol Chamchan
Pramote Prasartkul
Mahidol University. Institute for Population and Social Research
Keywords: Chronological age;definition of older person;positive attribute;qualitative research;Journal for Population and Social Studies;วารสารประชากรและสังคม
Issue Date: Jan-2015
Citation: Journal for Population and Social Studies. Vol.23, No.1 (2015), 73-85
Abstract: “Older” in many countries has been defined as a chronological age of either 60 or 65 years or older. Due to a rapidly growing aging population in Thailand, as well as state welfare payments and improved health, this study aims to explore how Thai people define “older person” and what perceived psychosocial and health impacts may occur if “older person” is redefined. Forty-five focus group discussions were conducted using working-age groups and older-persons’ groups from major occupations in all regions. The findings reveal that the perceived current definition of “older persons” is those aged 60 and older, and it carries with it negative and positive connotations. Most participants felt that it would be appropriate to consider a revised definition of “older person” if the following criteria were taken into consideration: (1) chronological age only, but raised to age 65 or 70; (2) chronological age and positive attributes; (3) positive attributes only; and (4) no criteria at all. Rival patterns were also discussed. The perceived positive impacts included better mental health, longer employment and increased value of older people. Reduced job opportunities for younger people and a shortage of home care providers for grandchildren were reported as the negative impacts. The challenge is how to incorporate a suitable multidimensional definition into a new concept of older person.
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