Sociology of Families


Tutorial Question

•Critically examine what it

means to have increasing
numbers of older persons in
the population.

The Ageing

The Ageing Population
• Gerontology is the science concerned with the study of the ageing population.
• The ageing population refers to the portion of persons 60 years an older.
• The ageing population is vital for the cohesiveness, cultural identity and heritage

of society. Elders provide much needed support to families and communities
They share their wealth of knowledge of previous families, communities and
national realities. This has helped the younger generations to value the past and
the many advancements made in contemporary society.

The Ageing Population Continued…

• Factors responsibly for the increase in the ageing population:
1. Significant decrease in mortality rate.
2. Decline in fertility rates.
3. Increase in Life Expectancy.

The Ageing Population Continued…
• According to the United Nations 2007, World Population Ageing, throughout

the English Speaking Caribbean, older persons now represent 10-13% of the
For example: 11% in Trinidad and Tobago, 10% in Jamaica and 13% in
Barbados. In very few counties would we find the older adult population
being less than 6%.

The Negative
Impacts Of An
Ageing Population

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population
• Increase in the dependency ratio
If the retirement age remains fixed, and the life expectancy increases, there will
be more people receiving pension benefits and less people working and paying
income taxes. As such taxes may subsequently increase to compensate for the
increase in persons claiming pension benefits.
Theodore 2004, noted that even persons who have accumulated wealth in their
30’s and 40’s for the purpose of retirement often find their provision inadequate
as a result of inflation.

How elderly's are financed in Trinidad
and Tobago
Males (N = 401)

Females (N = 463)





Old Age Pension

























National Insurance















Source: Rawlins et al. (2008, p. 593)

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population
• Labour supply concerns
A shortage of workers can arise as a result of the rapidly ageing population.
Especially with the low fertility rates, which means that there are less persons
being born to replenish the workforce.
As such this can push up wages, as there is now a deficit of persons in the
labour market, which gives the current workforce bargaining power in terms of
wages and salaries causing wage inflation.

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population
• Increased government spending
As the population grows, their needs tend to change. Therefore, an ageing
population would require certain needs to be meet, and as such it comes as an
additional cost to improve health care system, pensions, housing, welfare and
assistance programs and other related services.
This can put the economy on a financial strain especially due to the higher
spending commitments and lower tax revenue.

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population
• Widening of the fiscal gap
The fiscal gap represents an imbalance in revenue and expenditure of the
government. An increasingly older population would require the government to
increase spending as previously stated whilst these older people pay lower
income taxes as they are not working. A combination of these factors can have a
negative impact on the economy, and can result in further debt.

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population
• Loneliness
Loneliness as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is “a state of sadness because one

has no friends or company; being without companions; solitary”.
With reference to Trinidad and the Caribbean, the ageing population faces many issues where
their relatives are concerned. As families tend to be smaller, with the exception of the
extended family.
A national sample studied in Trinidad by Rawlins 2008 revealed that 16% of the elderly
sampled lived alone and 33% of them were lonely.

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population
• Older persons tend to feel lonely for a number of reasons eg,

family and friends are to busy or they live alone. Coughlan
2011, argues that loneliness is a hidden killer of elderly
persons. It is therefore important to ensure that our elders are
not isolated and neglected.
Family members should spend more time with their elderly
relatives, if they are unable to it is encouraged that families
pay caregivers or companions to help maintain the emotional
and psychological health of the elderly.

The Positive Impacts
of an Ageing

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population

• Healthier population
While many associate an increase in the ageing population with higher costs
especially in terms of health care, it also means that the population is healthier
and therefore living longer.

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population

• Increased societal contribution
An increase in the population of elderly persons can lead to an increase in the
volunteers in the society. This can be seen as a global advantage where the
elderly contribute free labour to communities and government projects.

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population

• Facilitators in maintaining traditions.
Older people can also help maintain the cultures, religions, morals, values,
traditions, etc. of the countries for further generations by passing down their
knowledge on these to the young generations.

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population

• Lower crime rates
As a general rule of thumb, it is highly likely that an older population of persons
will become more law abiding, since older person are less inclined to commit
crimes. Therefore, reducing the level of crimes committed.

The Impacts Of An Ageing Population
• Familial advantages
Older persons tend to play a role in supporting and maintaining informal social
networks, which in turn bring communities and families together. Elders are
said to be net providers as they provide childcare, financial, practical and
emotional assistance to family members including helping people outside the
household with the tasks of daily living.


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