THE ROLES OF THE ELDERLY IN ANCIENT CUL lURES AND EARLY CIVILISED SOCIETIES

Get Complete Project Material File(s) Now! »

RETIREMENT EXPECTATIONS AS THEY RELATE TO REAL LIFE SITUATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA

INTRODUCTION

Empirical knowledge concerning the social and economic circumstances of elderly people in first world countries is substantial. However, very little of that knowledge is directly applicable to the South African situation, especially as it relates to older people from formerly marginalised groups and people who live in rural areas.
Therefore, to get a clearer picture of real life situations as they apply to blue-collar retirees in South Africa, the researcher had to rely largely on literature and research findings of the HSRC/UCT Centre for Gerontology and the Co-operative Research Programme on Ageing. Of special value were the key findings of the Multidimensional Survey of Elderly South Africans conducted during 1990 and 1991 (Ferreira et al. 1992).
From the literature consulted, one aspect became very clear: although traditional values and customs to a large extent still influence the present life situations of retirees in South Africa, especially in rural areas, the transition the country is presently undergoing and the extensive social changes that accompany this transition, will significantly change the future socio-economic position of the retiree and affect his ability to cope with the demands of retirement.
« Modernisation » which is a natural outflow of social changes may further impact on the role and situation of the elderly. New opportunity structures for previously marginalised groups such as black-youths, may result in an erosion of traditional support mechanisms for the elderly as younger people may choose to migrate to areas where there are better opportunities. Better- educated youths may also start to question and challenge traditional values and customs.
Urbanisation, which in turn is a result of modernisation, may also influence the position of the elderly. The proportion of older people living in urban areas will increase, which can result in displacement of the elderly and the end of a subsistence existence as they will be cut off from agriculture and home-grown supplies.
Taking the above expected changes into account, it will be insufficient to only consider real life situations as they apply at present, without taking cognisance of expected future scenarios. This chapter will therefore examine the difference or congruence between the retirement expectations of blue-collar workers and real life situations as they apply to both traditional and future scenarios.
However, before the research findings relating to hypotheses two and three are discussed, a brief theoretical overview of each dependent variable will be given to highlight these scenarios.

A THEORETICAL OVERVIEW OF REAL LIFE SITUATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Retirement Timing

Although there is a growing view that retirement should not be determined by age alone but that other aspects such as physical and mental health, skills and qualifications and nature of work should also be considered, the formal retirement age in South Africa is still 65 as in most Western countries. Most employees gear their psychological and financial planning towards disengaging from formal work at this age.
However, work-place realities relating to retirement timing, as discussed in previous chapters, have changed dramatically over the past number of years. The effects of restructuring and downsizing in especially the mining and construction industries, are far-reaching for workers in these industries. Not only do many employees find themselves unemployed at a relatively young age, but workers are actively encouraged to consider retirement from the ages of 50 or 55 to enable companies to reduce staff numbers. Formal employment opportunities for older people have been reduced to virtually nil.
Well timed retirement or retirement « on time » enables an individual to optimise his opportunities to provide a secure financial basis for retirement. Not only does it enable him to accommodate adequate financial resources but it also provides him with the opportunity to plan and implement actions which can enable him to guarantee an income after retirement, such as from agriculture or a spaza shop. Early retirement more often than not also robs him of the opportunity to have a fully paid house when he retires and may render him dependent on others.
According to Moller (1985:161), migrant workers who have the opportunity to complete their working careers and who retire on time have a good start to retirement. The transition from work to retirement is smoother in the sense that retirement is anticipated and adequate preparation has been made for life after work.
Retirement « on time » also means that workers will be in the proper frame of mind for retirement. They will typically have fulfilled their duties as breadwinner of the family (Moller, 1985:182). Migrant workers who prematurely disengaged from work as a result of ill-health or unemployment showed greater signs of dissatisfaction and demoralisation. People who retire voluntarily and on time tend to look forward to retirement, have more resources, and gain greater satisfaction from retirement.
Moller (1985:192), concluded that migrants who have completed the full course of wage labour are economically and emotionally better prepared to disengage from migrant work and re-engage in a suitable role which will also enhance their self-esteem.

READ  Catholic education and the challenges and opportunities of diversity and multicultural education

 Esteem

As discussed in Chapter 6, research findings on the aspect of esteem are inconclusive. It is generally accepted that a change in self-esteem after retirement can be attributed to circumstances and situations surrounding retirement rather that to retirement per (refer to 6.2) With regard to black older people in a rural setting Van Eeden (1991 :22) found that they enjoy relatively high self-esteem. The particular determinants of greater esteem amongst males appear to be the attainment of certain skills or the involvement in certain activities such as:

  • Adequate demonstration of competence to build, manage and maintain his house and his family successfully as a subsistence farmer or as a migrant worker.
  • Intense involvement in community affairs such as meetings and other activities.
  • Verbal or oral ability to express himself convincingly.
  • The ability to transmit knowledge from one generation to another (Moller 1985:123).
  • Possessing personality traits such as courtesy, generosity and trustworthiness.

Moller (1985:154) also recorded high levels of self-esteem and social integration amongst returned migrant retirees. Most retirees in her sample indicated that they had friends, were important, not too dependant on others and were useful persons.
With regard to older persons in urban three generation households, (Moller 1985:29) found that subjective well being and attitudes to self were closely related to the concept of family harmony. Persons from harmonious families expressed optimism and satisfaction with their lives in general as well as feelings of personal control and self-esteem.
However, factors that contribute to a potential decline in self-esteem amongst rural black males are the following: (Van Eeden, 1991 :23)

  • Decline in physical or mental abilities through ageing or ill health.
  • Change introduced in the form of foreign cultural institutions or customs which the elderly find difficult to deal with from his « databank » of knowledge or wisdom gathered through life experience during different phases of his life cycle. Examples of these are Western orientated administrative customs and procedures such as court procedures, school committee procedures, and so forth. An aspect not mentioned by Van Eeden is accessing money or pensions through banks or electronic banking and accessing information through electronically controlled information systems.

As modernisation is also taking effect in « traditional communities » in the country it can be expected that older peoples’self-esteem will be further eroded as more foreign cultural institutions and customs are introduced at a more rapid pace. As most elderly men in rural areas are illiterate it is usually younger men who are left to deal with unfamiliar administrative procedures on the basis that they have been exposed to similar procedures and situations during periods of migrant labour or while residing in urban areas. This inevitably leads to misunderstanding, frustration and conflict between generations with a resultant decline in esteem amongst the elderly population.

Status and respect

There is general agreement amongst local researchers such as Moller 1985; Van Eeden 1991 ;Moller, 1993 and Ferreira et al. 1992, that older people in South Africa, especially elderly Indians, coloureds and blacks are still regarded as authority figures in the broader community. They also enjoy a great amount of respect. Most elderly blacks and Indians are involved in kinship relationships as part of extended families and are regarded as paternal or maternal authority figures as well as persons with life experience who can provide guidance to the younger generations.
Van Eeden (1991 :41) very aptiy, describes the position of the elderly black in a rural setting as follows:
« Focusing on the activities of old people in the context of domestic groups in particular, it became evident that in all the institutional levels mentioned (kinship, economy, authority and rural) old people occupy prominent social positions with vel}’ specific and socially imprint role expectations associated with their statuses. The senior status and directive role of elderly people are marked at all levels. It may be inferred that the elderly are essential to the maintenance and continuation of the social structure at both the domestic and community levels. »
However, the results from the multidimensional survey (Ferreira et al. 1992:107) indicate that a growing number of elderly people feel alienated from the younger generation and endorsed the view that young people presentiy show less respect for the elderly than past generations. It is expected that this alienation will increase as younger people become more and more independent and adverse towards cultural traditions.
Perceived loss of respect was strongest amongst urban blacks. Urban black elderly people also displayed negative attitudes regarding their social position and role.

READ  Impact of Baby on the Relationship

CHAPTER ONE THE RESEARCH PROBLEM AND PROCESS
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.2.1 Retirement and the individual
1.2.2 Retirement in the South African society
1.3 MOTIVATION FOR THE RESEARCH
1.4 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.5 RESEARCH DESIGN AND PROCEDUR E
1.6 LIMITATIONS AND CONSTRAINTS OF THE STUDY
1.6.1 Limitations
1.6.2 Constraints
1.7 DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS OF KEY CONCEPTS
1.8 PRESENTATION OF CONTENT
1.9 SUMMARY
CHAPTER TWO HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF RETIREMENT
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 THE ROLES OF THE ELDERLY IN ANCIENT CUL lURES AND EARLY CIVILISED SOCIETIES
2.3 THE INFLUENCE OF THE FRENCH, AMERICAN AND INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONS  ON THE POSITION OF THE ELDERLY
2.4 THE DEVELOPMENT OF PENSION FUNDS
2.5 RETIREMENT AS A MEANS TO REGULATE THE LABOUR MARKET
2.6 SUMMARY
CHAPTER THREE SOCIAL THEORIES OF RETIREMENT AND AGEING
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 THEORIES OF WELL-BEING, SATISFACTION AND ADAPTATION
3.2.1 Role Theory
3.2.2 Activity Theory
3.2.3 Disengagement Theory
3.2.4 Continuity Theory
3.3 THEORIES CONCERNING THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND SOCIAL CHANGE ON ADAPTATION AND SOCIAL STATUS IN OLD AGE
3.3.1 Modernisation Theory
3.3.2 Age Stratification Theory
3.3.3 The Political Economy of Ageing
3.4 SUMMARY
CHAPTER FOUR RETIREMENT AND AGEING IN A SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC CONTEXT 
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 DEMOGRAPHY AND AGEING
4.3 RACE, ETHNICITY AND RETIREMENT
4.4 CULTURE, RETIREMENT AND AGEING: AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
4.5 INDUSRIALISATION, RETIREMENT AND AGEING
4.6 SUMMARY
CHAPTER FIVE PRELUDES TO RETIREMENT: THE MEANING OF WORK AND ATTITUDES TOWARD RETIREMENT
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 MOTIVATION AND SATISFACTION IN TERMS OF MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
5.3 THE MEANING OF WORK
5.4 ATIITUDES TOWARDS RETIREMENT
5.5 SUMMARY
CHAPTER SIX ADJUSTMENT TO RETIREMENT
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 SELF-CONCEPT AND SELF-ESTEEM
6.3 HEALTH
6.4 FINANCIAL SECURITY
6.5 FAMILY AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS
6.6 SOCIAL PARTICIPATION
6.7 SUMMARY
CHAPTER SEVEN INTRODUCTION TO THE EMPIRICAL RESEARCH: RESEARCH DESIGN, SAMPLING PROCEDURE, HYPOTHESES AND DETAILS OF THE RESEARCH GROUP
7.1 INTRODUCTION
7.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
7.3 SAMPLING DESIGN
7.4 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION
7.5 PROCESSING AND PRESENTATION OF DATA
7.6 HYPOTHESIE
7.7 BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION OF THE RESEARCH GROUP
7.8 SUMMARY
CHAPTER EIGHT PERCEPTIONS OF RETIREMENT
8.1 INTRODUCTION
8.2 MASLOW’S THEORY OF NEEDS
8.3 DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
8.4 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION
8.5 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER NINE RETIREMENT EXPECTATIONS AS THEY RELATE TO REAL LIFE SITUATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA
9.1 INTRODUCTION
9.2 A THEORETICAL OVERVIEW OF REAL LIFE SITUATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA
9.3 FINDINGS
9.4 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION
9.5 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER TEN  RETIREMENT EXPECTATIONS AND A TIITUDES RELATING TO QUALITY OF LIFE 
10.1 INTRODUCTION
10.2 DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
10.3 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION
10.4 CONCLUSIONS
CHAPTER 11 DEGREE OF PREPAREDNESS FOR RETIREMENT
11.1 INTRODUCTION
11.2 FINDINGS
11.3 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION
11.4 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER12 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
12.1 INTRODUCTION
12.2 RESEARCH PROCESS
12.3 LITERATURE STUDY
12.4 EMPIRICAL STUDY
12.5 CONCLUSIONS
12.6 RECOMMENDATIONS
12.7 CONCLUDING REMARKS
BIBLIOGRAPHY 
APPENDIX
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT

Related Posts