İleri Yaşlardaki Türklerin Yaşam Çevreleri Ve Daha İyi Bir Yaşam İçin Öneriler

Vacit İMAMOĞLU

Abstract


Although the annual rate of population growth is decreasing in Turkey, the rate of aging population growth is increasing. This article provides an overview of the current living environments of Turkish elderly and some suggestions for improving their social, psychological and physical environments. After discussing the current definitions and problems of aging in general, a brief summary of some research findings carried in Turkey is given. Because of the strong family ties among Turkish family members, a kind of psychologically extended family living seems to continue and parents prefer to live next door to their children.  Hence, the position of the elderly seems somewhat ambivalent today: although youngsters feel obliged or seem to be eager to look after their aged parents, it is becoming quite difficult to do so for many reasons; e.g. in general, family sizes are diminishing, numbers of working women are increasing; flats or houses are getting smaller and the problem of the generation gap seem more likely to create friction between the elderly and the young. Hence, although institutional living for the elderly is seen as an undesirable solution and as a last resort in the Turkish culture, such types of living are slowly being accepted in the society, especially in urban centers.

Research carried in small towns, cities and metropolitan areas in Turkey indicated that although the elderly’s assessment of their physical living conditions did not differ as a function of urbanization, their satisfaction with life declined from small towns to metropolises. The reasons for this decline in life satisfaction were sought in the changes in the social living environments of the elderly accompanying urbanization which seems to reduce their social network as well as their interaction within this network. Another problem is related to gender: Turkish women compared to their counterparts as well as Swedish men and women, seem to be negatively affected by aging. The article discusses some specific problems of the Turkish elderly, makes some suggestions about possible solutions for alternative physical and social living environments for them by employing universal design principles.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4305/metu.jfa.2015.1.6

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