Understanding Vulnerability, Coping Mechanisms and Resilience among Abandoned Elderly Widows of Pilgrim centres in India: A Life Course Approach

Ankita Kumari, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
T.V. Sekher, IIPS

The “invisible” group of women who are widowed and ‘dumped’ in Holi centers in India are facing social exclusion, victimization, deprivation and poverty. The main objective of this study is to understand the dynamics of vulnerabilities and risks associated with elderly widow’s life in abandonment. The study is based on the primary data collected through intensive field work among 360 abandoned elderly widows who were either ‘living in OAHs/shelter homes’ or were ‘Homeless’, after being dumped in the two pilgrimage cities of India- Varanasi and Vrindavan. This paper depicts dynamics of vulnerabilities faced by these elderly widows living in abandonment. Bivariate and multivariate linear regression analysis were used to understand the association of their social networking with socio-demographic characteristics from a life course perspective. The psychological aspect of abandoned elderly widows had taken a toll as most of them reported being unhappy, often loosing temper, anxious and felt lonely most of the time. Though, ‘positive thinking’ coping strategies were higher among those staying in OAHs/Shelter Homes, those who were homeless had to deal with ‘behavioral avoidance’ coping mechanism.

Keywords: Population ageing, Life course analysis, Social network methods, Mixed methods research

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session P12.