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Ageing in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Two-thirds of global population aged over 60 now live in Africa, Asia and Latin America yet they remain under researched.  While most issues facing people as they age are broadly similar across the world the contexts in which they play out can differ significantly, radically changing the opportunities and challenges older people face.
This SIG will focus on low and middle income countries in order to strengthen gerontology’s ability to develop and promote rigorous, comparative and cross-cultural research that comprehends the impact of rapidly changing economies, different cultural contexts, policy making and policy implementation on later life.

Aims & Objectives:

The SIG aims to facilitate the building of a stronger empirical base and the development of new theories on ageing that are attuned to the specific policy, economic, demographic and cultural contexts of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The SIG will:

  • Provide a space and intellectual community to foreground the political, social, economic, demographic, policy, cultural and historical contexts that impact on ageing in Asia, Africa and Latin America
  • Draw together academics, research students and NGO personnel
  • Hold meetings primarily in central London, hosted by Age International and HelpAgeInternational, the key NGO organisations working on ageing in low and middle income settings.
  • Organise meetings around themed sessions
  • Hold an annual SIG panel at the BSG conference
  • Promote doctoral students and early career researchers in this area of gerontology


Steering committee members:

Joining the SIG:

Membership of the Ageing in Africa Asia and Latin America SIG is open to all.

If you would like to be part of this SIG please contact the SIG members


British Society of Gerontology 52nd Conference, 5-7th July 2023
Special Interest Group on Ageing in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Panel : 5th July, 12-13.30pm (BST)


This symposium is on older people's care, as both care receivers and care givers. Papers will cross social scales from the State through to individual, intergenerational care and its consequences for older people. We have papers on Indonesia, rural Ghana and urban India.

Paper Abstracts
The Subtleties of Non-Deliberate Exclusion in a Nation that Seeks to Include All Senior Citizens: Case-Studies from Indonesia
The Subtleties of Non-Deliberate Exclusion in a Nation that Seeks to Include All Senior Citizens: Case-Studies from Indonesia

Nathan Porath, University of Southampton

In Indonesia, a vast and ethnically diverse nation, older people are called lansia, an acronym for advance age, and a catch-all term for people over 60 years of age. However, ageing in Indonesia (as elsewhere) cannot be understood in exclusion of people’s other identities, such as ethnicity, provincial regionality, gender, marital status and being a parent or not, religion and the degree one observes and participates in one's registered faith or follow animist practices, socio-economic status (class), work status, educational status and physical capability and disability. These intersectoral identities can and do determine the nature of Indonesian elders ability to seek care when it is available, as for example when an elder, still adhering to animist notions of health and illness prefers to see a village medicine-man because the primary health doctor speaks in a professional language that is incomprehensible and professionally comes across as too disinterested or out of fear that a medical diagnosis will lead to financial destitution. Further, forms of non-deliberate exclusions due to the unevenness of available forms of societal care as well as the over-generality of the approach of care services that are delivered within a limited typology of ‘lansia’ aging experience, can also exclude Indonesian elders from gaining full support on multiple levels. Through case studies, this paper will examine types of non-deliberate exclusions in health and well-being delivery for older adults in Indonesia.

Abstract for British Society of Gerontology (BSG) Conference, July 2023

Panel of the Special Interest Group (SIG) on Ageing in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Ageing as Landless: The Marginalization of Dependent Older People in the Social Reproduction of Rural Indonesia
Ageing as Landless: The Marginalization of Dependent Older People in the Social Reproduction of Rural Indonesia

Ciptaningrat Larastiti, MA, SurveyMeter Research Institute, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and Member of ESRC Project on Care Networks in Indonesia

This paper aims to understand inequalities of social reproduction through the precariousness of care for dependent older members among landless households in rural agrarian communities in Indonesia. In rural social reproduction, older people contribute as an extra labour force whose role is to ensure food subsistence or to fulfil domestic tasks, such as caring for grandchildren until they gradually become frailty and dependent on others. For families who are precarious and landless, who survive through footloose labour on- or off-farm, the dependency of older members creates burdens on their daily efforts to maintain social reproduction. As a result, the position of dependent older people is marginalized, and their needs are considered insignificant to their families and the state.

The paper asks: (1)How is care for dependent older people provided among landless families in rural agrarian communities in Indonesia? (2) What is the nature of the marginalization of dependent older people? These questions are elaborated through case studies of dependent older people who are landless, engage in unequal sharecropping relations, and are being cared for by family members within similar marginalization contexts. The case studies arise from qualitative, ethnographic research in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, using a method that emphasizes the life history of the older respondent along with the dynamics of socio-economic changes around them.

The paper identifies the marginalization of dependent older people as the result of the intensified crisis of social reproduction in a rural area. The marginalization includes:

  1. The deterioration of the dependent older person’s status through the stigma of 'bocah’ (kid), 'manja’ (spoilt), or 'bandel’ (stubborn, disobedient);
  2. The tensions between the caregiver and recipient within the family context;
  3. The perfunctory nature of caregiving where the family forcefully underestimates the frailty and needs of the older member.

These marginalizations are exacerbated due to the lack of government support for long-term care to minimize precariousness and frailty.

Intergenerational family support and its perceived influence on older adults’ subjective well-being in rural Northern Ghana
Intergenerational family support and its perceived influence on older adults’ subjective well-being in rural Northern Ghana

Mark A. Aviisah1,2, Adaawen1, Hinke H. Haisma1, Francis B. Zotor2, & Tobias C. Vogt1,3

1Population Research Center, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, 2Fred N. Binka School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho-Ghana, 3Prasanna School of Public Health, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India, In the absence of a developed welfare state, family support remains the main source of support for sustaining older adults in low- and middle-income countries. Several studies mostly from high income countries have shown intergenerational family support’s impact on older adults’ well-being outcomes. This study focuses on sub–Saharan Africa, for which, relatively fewer quantitative studies exist for the relationship between intergenerational family support and older adults’ well-being outcomes. This qualitative study uses the convoy model as a conceptual and methodological framework for understanding how social support contributes to older adults’ subjective well-being in rural Northern Ghana. Twenty-six in-depth interviews from older adults aged 60 years and older from 3 socioeconomically different backgrounds and their ‘convoy’ members were analysed. The results indicate that, in this deprived context, the intergenerational family were older adults’ prime source of social support. Intergenerational family support contributes to older adults’ well-being fulfilling basic needs such as food and shelter, promoting health, and providing social relationships clothed with affection.

Impact of Grandparenting on Self-perception of Ageing of Older adults
Impact of Grandparenting on Self-perception of Ageing of Older adults

Beena Pereira, University of Southampton

The number of older adults is projected to increase significantly in India, the world’s second most populous country. The increased life expectancy gives rise to longer shared life span between the grandparents and grandchildren. The increase in employment, migration and working mothers in India have also given rise to increased opportunities for grandparental investment in the grandparenting process. This study explored the impact of grandparenting on their self-perception of ageing. It also sought to understand the implications of this impact on their health and well-being. An exploratory qualitative method of research was used to conduct semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 8 grandparents who had been into active grandparenting for more than 10 years in Navi- Mumbai, a cosmopolitan city in India. It was found that grandparenting in the Indian socio-cultural context involved assuming various roles which promoted healthy and successful ageing process as well as purposeful meaning to their living. Secondly it also found that active grandparenting facilitated challenging negative stereotypes of ageing and helped them to maneuver around these to positive perceptions of self-ageing. There has been no published research on this topic in India. The insights from this study has given avenues for further research with gendered roles and different socio-economic backgrounds of grandparents. Research on Indian grandparents who have migrated abroad needs to be done to this topic. The government can introduce policies promoting continued-education for older adults, introduce studies of gerontology in the universities of India to promote a better inter-generational connect. Subjective age could be considered as an alternate measure to chronological age for older adults. Creating age friendly environments to live and age can address the social determinants of capacity building for the grandparents.

Further information

This is a hybrid event. A link nearer the date will be sent to people who have written to the SIG to join as members.

On-line attendance at this panel is free.