Volume 20, Issue 76 (4-2020)                   refahj 2020, 20(76): 313-355 | Back to browse issues page

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Aabzalian A, Kaffashi M, Bayangani B. Tough Ageing: A Consequence of Population Ageing in Rural Areas (A Study of Rural Areas of Badreh County, Ilam, Iran). refahj. 2020; 20 (76) :313-355
URL: http://refahj.uswr.ac.ir/article-1-3540-en.html
Abstract:   (893 Views)
Extended Abstract
Introduction: As the United Nations has considered Population ageing as one of the most significant trends and social transformations in the 21st century, many countries, including Iran, are subject to experience the phenomenon due to the increasing share of older persons in the population. Therefore, the country must prepare to surmount the problems arising from the status quo. Population and housing census shows 74 percent of the Iranians lived in the urban areas while only the 25.94 percent inhabited rural areas in 2016. However, it indicates the elderly proportion living in rural areas is more than urban ones. Decreases in population growth rate, life expectancy alongside mass migration of the youth to cities have caused the number of aged people who live in rural areas to go up dramatically. The trend has brought about problems imposed on both the elderly and others. Thus, in the current research we tried to examine the concern based on first hand data.
Method: The data were collected by means of grounded theory techniques, especially interview as the main technique, and observation, participant observation, and statistical data as complementary ones. In doing so, we have interviewed 21 people aged 65 and over, 12 women and 9 men, living in six rural areas including Abcheshmeh, Kheibar, Banhalan, Bahramkhani, Alisharvan and Kachkouban located in Badreh County, Ilam. The interview took 40 minutes. The youngest and oldest interviewees were 66 and 111 years old, respectively. To analyze the data, we have done the coding method including open, axial, and selective by means of theoretical sampling.
Findings: The findings indicate the group of population has been experiencing tough ageing. Poor social interactions, high degree of economic dependence on others, lack of education, continuous changes of occupations, decline of social status, time suspension, and poor health show that the rural ageing turned into a tough issue. In other words, the elderly persons in rural areas have encountered problems due to their current situation. Based on the research findings, lack of money, minimum savings, devaluation of liquidity, no investment in rural products, and weak private ownership have caused the group of population to rely heavily on others. Outcomes of the dependence include the feelings of helplessness and being unproductive, and strong longing for their own past. So, they feel to be an extra burden on other people. Therefore, the elderly try to continue their occupational activities as a compensatory strategy. On the other hand, inadequate income and savings have led them to be unable to pay medical their costs, which put their health in jeopardy. In addition, the triple factors of devaluation of liquidity, no investment in rural products, and weak private ownership have made the youth to abandon the rural areas in order to inhabit other provinces, such as Tehran, Khuzestan and Alborz. Since the places are so far away from their hometowns, the migrant cannot visit the elderly parents as before. The trend is as enormous as we mention that it is a kind of mass exodus. When the aged people are left behind, they experience feelings of loneliness more than before, that is, feeling of loneliness lead them to imagine that they are lonely, abandoned, excluded, and isolated. Moreover, high degree of economic dependence in old age undermines the elderly’s social statutes and affects normal ageing resulting in receive help from the other people. This leads them to be subordinate to the youth. Time suspension is another factor affecting the rural ageing to be tough on the part of the elderly persons. It means the rural elders suffer from identity crisis in some way. They believe neither the current situation nor the past one. They want to have both the past values such as local reciprocity, traditional family, and content of life together with the current facilities, but in practice these are mutually exclusive. By and large, as much as the former gets better the latter becomes worse, and vice versa. Finally, the elderly persons in the rural areas are unable to provide a comprehensive plan to their lives because they are illiterate. It means that the people cannot analyze the everyday events to utilize them. It rooted in nomadic life style, sex discrimination in terms of education, and minimum level of educational facilities in their childhood. In other words, the nomadic culture required them to own the physical force rather than their intellectual power. Furthermore, depriving women of receiving education has acted as a barrier to utilize the then minimum facilities. They have exacerbated the state of the elderly. In the diagram 1, we have depicted tough ageing in rural areas located in Badreh County, Ilam province.
Discussion: Rural ageing phenomenon in Badereh County may not be congruent with western ageing theories such as activity, disengagemen,t and continuity, mainly because the elderly keep going their previous activities, as far as the can, but those do not represent a successful ageing. The people are both socially and economically dependent on their families so they try to work to avoid higher level dependence on others. This dependency acts as a factor to subordinate the rural elders to the offspring. Therefore, ageing has become a problematic phenomenon for a generation of the elderly who has experienced identical stages including nomadic lifestyle and rural habitation. On the other hand, as Anderson et al. (2018) state, unbalanced distribution of government supports for the elderly brought about rural elders gain a slight advantage of the support packages over their urban peers. This resulted in shaping an unequal transaction between the youth and the elderly because the latter have a less access to the sources required to transact. By and large, rural ageing must be considered as a tough phenomenon affecting all rural communities and cities since it has been neglected in the past few decades.

Diagram (1) tough ageing

Ethical considerationsAuthors Contribution
All of three authors were involved in writing this article.
Financial Resources
In order to publish the article, it has not received direct or indirect financial support from any organization.
Following Principles of Research Ethics
All of data has gathered with participants’ prior consent, remaining anonymous. In addition, we have obeyed all of research principles including piracy, manipulation etc.
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Type of Study: method |
Received: 2019/12/16 | Accepted: 2020/06/2 | Published: 2020/10/6

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