ERIC Number: ED243025
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Elderly Helper.
Kahana, Eva; Midlarsky, Elizabeth
The elderly have generally been portrayed as needy recipients of services; only recently has attention been paid to their contributory role. To explore the nature and characteristics of helping behavior among urban elderly, 117 residents of senior citizens' housing sites in Detroit completed the Altruism Scale for the Elderly and a second measure consisting of a semantic differential scale and open-ended items designed to elicit information about their helping patterns. Analysis of results showed that 67 percent of the respondents reported helping very much, with older respondents reporting significantly less helping behavior. All felt that helping others was an important activity in their lives. The person helped most frequently was a friend, neighbor, or relative. Most help was in the form of a service. Types of help spanned a broad range from heroic rescue to small daily courtesies. Most respondents referred to enduring forms of help such as caring for an ill relative, and indicated that they considered the rewards of helping to be intrinsic in nature. The findings provide a strong indication for the importance of altruistic motives for older persons and raise questions about the universal applicability of an exchange model of helping for elderly providers of help. (JAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (36th, San Francisco, CA, November 17-22, 1983).