Do norms towards elderly care coincide with actual behavior? The impact of international migration on elderly parents left behind in Lithuania
Margarita Gedvilaite-Kordušiene, Vytautas Magnus University
Even if Lithuania’s emigration rate is among the highest in the European Union, there is a gap of research addressing effects of adult children migration for elderly parents who stay behind. Lithuania represents a case where a system of formal social care is rather limited. At the same time, the norms that adult children should provide care for elderly parents are rather strong. The paper aims to reveal the consequences of international migration for intergenerational relationships and answer if strong filial obligations coincide with actual behaviour in transnational families. The theoretical background of the paper consists of theories of trasnationalism and intergenerational solidarity. The analysis of empirical data opens up with the discussion on cultural context – the attitudes towards elderly care in Lithuania are analysed. Based on the results of logistic regression the predictors enhancing the chances of agreement on filial responsibilities are presented. The following part of the paper addresses the effects of adult children migration to elderly parents left behind. The effects on associational (frequency of contacts) and affectual solidarity (evaluation of relationships) are evaluated. Finally, the effects on functional solidarity are presented: what type of support elderly parents receive from their migrant children, care models of elderly parents who have at least one adult child living abroad are analysed, the networks of care providers are revealed. The paper is concluded if strong filial obligations coincide with actual behaviour in transnational families. The paper is based on two data bases. Second way of Gender and Generation Survey conducted in year 2009 is used to asses attitudes towards elderly care in Lithuania (N=5748). A nationally representative Survey of Elderly Parents who have at least one adult children living abroad was used to evaluate the effects on international migration on intergenerational relationships and care models (N=303).