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İmamoğlu, Vacit
Although the annual rate of population growth is decreasing in Turkey, the rate of aging population growth is increasing. This article presents an overview of the current living environments of Turkish elderly and provides some suggestions for improving their physical environments. Because of the strong family ties among Turkish family members, a kind of psychologically extended family living seems to continue and parents prefer to live next door to their children. Still, the position of the elderly seems somewhat ambivalent today, especially in urban areas: although many youngsters generally feel obliged or seem to be eager to look after their aged parents, it is becoming quite difficult to do so for many reasons; e.g. in general, family sizes are diminishing, numbers of working women are increasing; flats or houses are getting smaller and the problem of the generation gap seems more likely to create friction between the elderly and the young. Hence, although institutional living for the elderly is seen as an undesirable solution and as a last resort in the Turkish culture, such types of living are slowly being accepted in the society, especially in urban centers. Research carried in small towns, cities and metropolitan areas in Turkey indicates that although the elderly's assessment of their physical living conditions do not differ as a function of urbanization, their satisfaction with life seems to decline from small towns to metropolises. The reasons for this decline in life satisfaction can be sought in the changes in the social living environments of the elderly accompanying urbanization which involve reductions in size of social networks and frequency of social interactions. Another problem is related to gender: Turkish women, compared to their male counterparts as well as Swedish men and women seem to be negatively affected by aging.