PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore the quality of social relationships of older Filipino church members by determining their perceptions of support and non-support in their social network.Design/methodology/approachA qualitative research approach with semi-structured interviews was utilized. A purposive sample of six Filipino older adults (ages 60-89) were invited and agreed to participate in the study.FindingsThe themes found in the study confirmed the types of support outlined in social convoy theory. Several unique nuances in the types of support and non-support between the interactions of older adult Filipinos with people very close to them, somewhat close to them, and merely acquainted with them were identified. The themes of support include instrumental support, emotional care, social connectedness, and companionship during engagement in activities. Themes characterising lack of support include disrespect and lack of understanding, constraining one’s actions, helplessness in responding to the other’s needs, non-dependability and non-reliability, difficulty in maintaining social connections, making it difficult to play a desired or expected role.Research limitations/implicationsThe study’s limitations are the small sample size, the quality of support explored only through nominating two members of each level of closeness in the older adults’ social convoy, sample size adequacy to reach data saturation, and the lack of data on support reciprocity that may influence the respondents’ perceptions of support and non-support.Practical implicationsThe findings of the paper point to possible interventions to improve social support for the older population. The road map for those interested in developing interventions should also put some emphasis on older adults’ needs in their continued societal engagement. Interventions may involve facilitating role transitions and providing social support systems attuned to the needs of the elderly.Social implicationsThe authors speculate that this lack of support experienced by the older adults relates to the loss of societal roles, especially as this relates to their identity, meaning, and changes in social interactions within their communities. It is therefore important that interventions be planned to provide structures for older adults’ transitions in their re-engagement in society and into the work-force, thereby reducing this sense of role ambiguity and providing them with more positive identities in their communities.Originality/valueThe results suggest another form of support distinct from the emotional and instrumental support elaborated in previous work. This support is identified as companionship from within the social network that allows older adults to sustain engagement in meaningful activities. The study’s results further suggest a lack of clarity in societal roles, i.e. a sense of role ambiguity, which older adults may experience in the transitioning from adulthood to later adulthood.
Quality in Ageing and Older Adults – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 12, 2018
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