The experience of institutionalized elderly women in Kerala, India: A qualitative case study

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology Major in Clinical Counseling

Subject Categories



Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Counseling and Educational Psychology

Thesis Adviser

John Addy S. Garcia

Defense Panel Chair

Jose Alberto S. Reyes

Defense Panel Member

Aime T. Guarino
Alicia F. Estrellado
Nino Jose C. Mateo
Ma. Cristina E. Saldivar


This study explored the experience of the institutionalized elderly women in a specific rural context in Kerala, India, employing qualitative multiple case study method. It examined (a) the challenges these women are faced with, (b) the resources they have at their disposal, (c) the beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviours they have developed toward themselves, others and God, (d) the contexts within contexts they live their lives and (e) their perception of and disposition towards the past, the present and the future. The participants were 12 elderly women (age range from 62-84) residing in a Home for the Aged in Kerala. Data were gathered from various sources such as interview of the participants, interview of the close associates and observation by the researcher. Data were analyzed and categories and subcategories were identified for individual cases and across cases. The challenges included confronting various losses, issues with family, issues related to ongoing adaptation, emotional difficulties and finances. The resources comprised of various intrapersonal, interpersonal and extraneous factors. The significant socio-cultural elements were education, family values, attitude towards aging, attitude towards women and religious harmony. The context surrounding admission seemed to play a significant role in the adaptation at the beginning of their lives in the institution. The way the women have adapted themselves to their institutionalized world was inferred from their reported sense of being at ease with the past, being at home with the present and being at peace with the future. The findings highlighted the uniqueness of individual experience and suggested that how each one adapts to life as institutionalized elderly woman varied in spite of the apparent similarity in the various factors that influence their lives. Implications for counseling practice, counselor education, research as well as for institutionalized caregiving for the elderly are discussed.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc, 4 3/4 in


Older women—India—Kerala; Retirement communities—India—Kerala; Counseling

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