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The Elderly in the Filipino Family

Belen T. Medina (University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines)
Maria Cecilia T. Medina (University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines)

Resilience and Familism: The Dynamic Nature of Families in the Philippines

ISBN: 978-1-80455-415-9, eISBN: 978-1-80455-414-2

Publication date: 10 August 2023


A review of the literature on the Filipino elderly reveals that social and cultural expectations of filial duty and obligations are still strong in the Filipino family. Filial piety based on the concept of “utang na loob” or debt of gratitude to parents, and respect for age are important traditional Filipino values as evident in the support given by children to their parents, and in the words and practices showing deference to the older generation. Studies have shown that the most common living arrangement of the elderly is co-residence with children or to have at least one child living close by in the neighborhood. With the generally poor economic well-being of the elderly, they rely heavily on their children both in the Philippines and abroad for support. Caregiving of the elderly is family-based with the children, particularly the daughters, as major providers of care and assistance to maintain their physical well-being. Studies have also shown the importance of intergenerational solidarity for the social well-being and mental health of the elderly through constant communication and visits, with a two-way flow of economic and emotional support between parents and children. Institutionalization of the elderly appears to be a last resort to complement rather than replace the welfare function of the family.

For future research, it is recommended that government laws benefitting the elderly and their implementation be analyzed, including the most effective way to reach those in remote areas in order to disseminate information on their benefits. Studies should also be done to develop programs for caregiving training and incentives, on ways to uphold standards and monitor the quality of facilities of private retirement homes, to establish more government homes or home-care services for the indigent who needs long-term care. It is also recommended that studies on geriatric centers and facilities be done to ensure high-quality of elderly care.



Medina, B.T. and Medina, M.C.T. (2023), "The Elderly in the Filipino Family", Gregorio, V.L., Batan, C.M. and Blair, S.L. (Ed.) Resilience and Familism: The Dynamic Nature of Families in the Philippines (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Vol. 23), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 285-299.



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