Modernization, Aging and Coresidence of Older Persons: the Sri Lankan Experience


  • Amarasiri de Silva University of Pittsburgh
  • W.M.J. Welgama



aging, coresidence, intergenerational problems, Sri Lanka, modernization


This paper examines the effects of the modernization on the living arrangements of elderly people in six selected communities representing urban, semi-urban, estate, rural, colonized settlement and fishing villages in Sri Lanka. The paper concludes that the modernization of the economy and society has exacerbated an intergenerational rift leading to an intensification of tensions between elderly people and other family members, despite the fact that the percentage of older people living with their children remains high. Such coresidence or intergenerational living comprises many types of living arrangements, and leads to mixed results for care of the elderly. Many elderly people have developed mechanisms to counteract the negative effects of coresidence: seeking independence during old age, by earning their own income and living alone or living with the spouse, indulging in behaviors such as drinking, spending time outside the home with friends of similar age, or creating their own living space within coresidence.

Author Biography

Amarasiri de Silva, University of Pittsburgh

Visiting Professor Department of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh