Social Support For The Aged


BY Drs. H. Zainuddin Sri Kuntjoro, MPsi.

Jakarta, August 16th, 2002

TRANSLATED BY Bambang Tri Hartono, S.Sos

Makassar, May 4th, 2008.


Never thought I will work with the elderly, but here I am now, working for Minisrtry of Social Republic of Indonesia (Depsos RI).

I am living in Gowa, South Sulawesi, working with the elderly as social service provider, in Panti Sosial Tresna Wredha (PSTW) Gau Mabaji Gowa.

Before this assignment, I had worked as provincial social worker (PSW) in Central Aceh during 2007, with focus on Safety Focus Family Centered Community Based for Child Protection Program, hired by IPSPI and UNICEF.

This original article belongs to Mr. Drs. Zainuddin Sri Kuntjoro,M.Psi translated by me in English. I did translate to practice English beside to find more knowledge working with the elderly. So, first of all I would say thank you to Mr. Zainuddin, I am Sorry I didn’t ask your permit to show the article in my blog.

Social Support for the Aged

After someone be include to the aged period, the social support from others become worth and increase life more peaceful. But it doesn’t mean with those social support the aged become silent, quit, composed and just sitting in the bed. To keep the health, physic also mental, the aged precisely should do several useful activities for the aged lives. The aged should not pretend serve from others (Sidiarto Kusumoputro: 2002). That’s will emerge several diseases and suffers, until can create the aged fast to past away. In addition to keep the age have activities the social support was needed. Social support was needed for the aged as long the aged still understood the meaning of social support as support for the lives.

But, in aged life, we often face situation that not all of the aged was able to understood the social support, even though the aged have receive social support, the aged still shows the unsatisfied, present by complaining, disappointed, anger etc.

In this case, understanding from provider about availability and adequacy for the aged was needed, and then avoid the mistake and inappropriate understanding about social support.

If the aged with several reasons was not longer able to understand the meaning of social support, and then the needs was not only social support but social care completely. If social care was not held, and then the aged will neglected in the lives.

Social Support Definition

Human as social creatures can not live without help from others. Physically need (such as food, dress, house), social need (such as acceptance, relationship, school and work), and mental need including safety feeling, curious feeling, spiritual feeling could not met without help from others. It becomes urgent when people have matters, easy or hard.

At that’s time, some people find social support from others in the environment, until he had felt accepted, appreciated, and loved. The reality which always we see and face is when someone felt ill and must have a care in hospital, then the families or friend come to see him. With that visiting, he felt had social support.

Social support was defined by Gottlieb (1983) as verbal or nonverbal information, suggest or real aid or attitude which given by peoples whose have close relations with the subject in is social environment or something such as absent and things which gives emotional profit or has impact to the behaviors of the subject.

In this case, people felt have social support in emotional ways felt so glad because given attention, have suggest or good impression at his self. Same statement present by Sarason (1983) who said that Social support was existing, agreement, care from people whose we could count off it, respecting and loving us. Same point of view was presented by Cobb who defines social support as convenient, attention, appreciating or helping people with acceptance attitude, which social support could have got from people as individual or groups.

Sarason (1983) said that social support has 2 scopes, that is:

The quantity of social support resources, it was individual perception about a count of people that we can count off it when individual need helps (quantity approach).

Satisfied level about social support which accepted, related to the individual perception that his need will fulfills (quality approach).

Those things above, important to understood by individual who want to go give social support because this is linked to availability perception and adequacy social support by someone.

Social Support is not only giving a help, but the most important thing is how the accepter perception to the meaning of that help. That thing have tight relations with appropriate social support given, it means that people who accept the help felt the benefit for himself, because something actual and giving satisfaction.

From several opinions above we have conclusion that social support is kind of help or support receive by individual from several people in their life and living in special community makes the receiver feel the attention, love and appreciated. People who receive social support understood the social support meaning given by others.

Social Support Resources

The individual Social support resources lots came from his environment. But something should know is how many social support resources can be effective to use for people who need it? Social support resources are an important aspect to know and understanding. With that knowledge and meaning, someone will know to whom he should to find social support resources adjust to the situation and he want in specifically ways, then social support will have meaning for the receiver and provider.

Rook and Dooley (1985) said there were 2 social support resources: artificial and natural. Natural Social Support received by someone through his social interaction in his life spontaneously with the people in the environment, such as family member (children, wife, husband, and families), best friend or relation. This social support is kind of non formal support. Meanwhile, artificial social support has meaning as social support which is planned to individual primary need, for example, social support effect natural disaster through social contribution.

A natural social support resource has differences between artificial social supports in several ways, that is:

1. The existence of natural social support resources was easy to have and spontaneously impact from the originally ways.

2. A natural social support appropriate with norms.

3. A natural social support came from relations which has exist for long time.

4. a natural social support has variation ways sending the social support, start to giving real goods until meet someone to say the greeting.

5. A natural social support was released from psychological pressures and labels.

Social Support Components

Some experts said social support could include in to several difference components. Such Weiss (Cutrona and friends, 1994:371) said six (6) components which said as “The Social Provision Scale”, which each component was autonomous but linked and interdependently each other:

1. Emotional Attachment

These kind of social support possible to some one to obtain emotional attachment until create safety feeling to the receiver. People whose receive this kind social support will have peaceful, safe, and peace feeling shows by calm and happy attitude. Mostly this social support resources often and common obtain from life’s companion or family member, best friend, families relative which intimate and have harmony relations. For the aged, the suitable second person, especially who haven’t life’s companion, be more important to interdependently giving social support or moral support.

2. Social Integration

This kind of social support, possible to the aged to obtain the feeling, feels have a group to share his interest, attention and also do some recreation activity characterize together. This kind of social support resources possible to aged have the safety feeling, comfortable and also posses and possessed a group. The community which have a care to the aged, do organizing the aged and do activity together without pretends reward will give lots of social support. They (the aged) will feel happy, cheerful and can fall their wedge in his life through telling the stories, hear the light speech appropriate with the aged needs. All of that was useful social support for the aged.

3. Acknowledgment

In this kind of social support, the aged obtain acknowledgement for capabilities and skills and also have appreciation form others or institutions. These kind of social support resources come from families or organizations or companies which the aged had worked. Because of the services, capabilities and skills, the aged still have got the attention and compensation in every kind of acknowledgement. Pension money perhaps can be accepted as kind of social support too, if some one accepts with fortunate feeling.

Others kind of social support form acknowledgement is invite the aged in every event to participate in those celebrations together with productive peoples.

4. Reliable reliance.

This social support, the aged have support in guarantee that there were people which reliable, to help the aged when need those helps. This kind of commonly comes from families. The aged who living in institution, such Sasana Wredha, there were ready officers to help the aged, until the aged have satisfied services.

5. Guidance.

This kind of social support shows by working interaction or social interaction possible to the aged get the information, suggest or needed advice to fulfill the needs and cope the problems. This kind of social support comes from teachers, religious leader, community leader or figure, or also parents.

6. Opportunity for Nurturance

An important aspect in interpersonal relations is feeling needed by others. This kind of social supports possible to the age obtain feeling that others were dependent in welfare addition.  According to Weiss (Cotuna and friends, 1994) this social support resources is inherit (children) and life’s companion. That’s why many the aged felt sad and less happy when far from the grandchild or the children’s.

Through understanding the urgent of social support for the aged, all of us were pretended participate and able to give social support appropriate with the aged needs. Start with giving the aged near from us. With giving meaningful social support, then the aged will enjoy their life with peaceful and happiness, and at last will give many use for other family members.


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