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Aging and Eldercare: November AN Commentaries Now Online

November 2009 Anthropology News CoverNovember Anthropology News In Focus commentaries on aging and eldercare are now available on our Current Featured News page, free to the public through November 30. To access full November issue content—free for AAA members—visit AnthroSource.

The Aging and the Life Course series includes:

  • Jay Sokolovsky: “Aging, Center State: New Life Course Research in Anthropology
  • Philip B Stafford: “Aging and Developmental Disability: Emerging Concerns and Insights”
  • Cormac Sheehan, Cathy Bailey and Susan Squires: “Older Adults Speak Out: Aging and Health Policy in the Republic of Ireland”
  • David Prendergast, John Sherry, Simon Roberts and Tim Plowman: “Technology and Independent Living: The Global Aging Experience Project” Continue reading

Forthcoming Anthro News Issue on Aging: A Preview

The November issue of Anthropology News will include several commentaries, as well as teaching strategies and a photo essay, highlighting current anthropological work on aging, the life course and eldercare. In anticipation of the issue, we feature here a brief article by Maria Cattell, research associate at the Field Museum of Natural History and president-elect of the Association for Africanist Anthropology, on family dynamics of intergenerational support in Kenya. Please post your comments below.

Intergenerational Support among Luyia of Western Kenya by Maria G Cattell (Field Museum)

A big question everywhere in this graying world is “How can we care for our old people?” Among Luyia in western Kenya, and throughout sub-Saharan Africa, families have tried to provide care for the elderly as best they can. Even so, one hears much nonsense about African families disappearing, even from Africans who know how deeply they themselves are embedded in kin networks where people are always asking each other for help.

Maria Cattell blog photo (nov09 AN aging issue)In this 2004 photo, Paulina is giving great-granddaughter Didi a chicken, as Luyia grandmothers like to do. It is city girl Didi’s first visit to her rural homeland with her mother Frankline. As her granddaughter, Frankline was among the many children Paulina raised over the decades. In 2004 Paulina was 80 but still had a grandchild in her home—not an unusual situation for Luyia grandmothers, for various reasons. This picture thus inspires us to recognize that it’s not just the elderly who need care. It leads us to ask: “How do old people take care of others?” and it helps us realize that intergenerational support goes both ways.

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