The Resilience of Bangladesh's Elderly

Working Through Old Age


6/4/20233 min read

In Bangladesh, a significant portion of the population consists of elderly individuals who continue to work during their twilight years. While some engage in activities to pass the time, many are compelled to work as a means of survival. This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in rural areas, where sons often inherit their fathers' properties and leave their elderly parents behind. In this article, we will explore the challenges faced by elderly Bangladeshis, the reasons behind their continued work, and the implications for society as a whole

The elderly population in Bangladesh faces various challenges, including financial instability, limited access to healthcare, and social isolation. The traditional familial structure, once known for its strong intergenerational support, has undergone significant changes over the years. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for sons to acquire their fathers' properties and move away to urban centers, leaving their elderly parents to fend for themselves in rural areas.

Given the lack of financial support from their sons and the absence of adequate social security systems, many elderly Bangladeshis find themselves compelled to work in their old age. They engage in various forms of employment, including agricultural work, small businesses, and informal sector activities. For them, work is not merely a means of passing the time; it is a necessity to sustain their livelihoods.

In the past, the elderly in rural Bangladesh enjoyed a respected and revered status within their communities. They played pivotal roles as advisors and guardians of cultural traditions. However, the changing socioeconomic landscape has gradually eroded these traditional roles, leaving the elderly vulnerable and marginalized.

The phenomenon of elderly individuals continuing to work has significant implications for Bangladeshi society. It highlights the shortcomings of social welfare systems and exposes the lack of support structures for the aging population. Moreover, it raises concerns about intergenerational relationships and the erosion of traditional values that once emphasized filial piety and the care of elderly parents.

To address the challenges faced by elderly Bangladeshis, it is crucial to implement comprehensive social welfare programs that provide financial assistance, healthcare support, and avenues for social engagement. The government, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, should work towards creating a more inclusive society that values and respects the elderly.

Efforts should also be made to foster intergenerational bonding and reinforce the importance of familial responsibilities. Educational campaigns, community initiatives, and awareness programs can play a crucial role in promoting empathy, respect, and care for the elderly within Bangladeshi society.

The stories of elderly Bangladeshis continuing to work in their old age shed light on the systemic challenges faced by this vulnerable population. It is imperative for society to recognize their contributions, address their needs, and promote a more compassionate and inclusive environment. By creating a society that values and supports its elderly citizens, Bangladesh can embrace the principles of filial piety and secure a brighter future for its aging population.

The Bangladeshi elderly population's decision to work through their old age exemplifies their resilience, determination, and commitment to leading meaningful lives. Their contribution to society extends beyond financial gains; they play an integral role in preserving cultural traditions, fostering intergenerational connections, and challenging age-related stereotypes. Recognizing their value and providing support to this vibrant and active demographic will contribute to building a more inclusive and compassionate society. Let us celebrate the indomitable spirit of Bangladeshi senior citizens who continue to inspire us with their unwavering work ethic and zest for life.