Institutional care for older people in developing countries: Repressing rights or promoting autonomy? The case of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Nélida Redondo, Peter Lloyd-Sherlock

Research output: Working paper


Population ageing is an established trend in almost all developing countries, including rapid increases in the oldest age groups. At the same time, processes of social, economic and cultural change call into question the extent to which older people with care needs can rely on kinship networks to provide this support. As a result, most developing countries have seen a major expansion in the demand for and provision of institutional care for older people in developing countries. Despite this, the quality of services offered by the growing number of care homes has scarcely been studied. This paper assesses whether privately-run old age homes offer their residents a dignified life, respecting their rights and promoting their social inclusion, or whether these homes lead to segregation and undermine personal autonomy. The paper draws on a survey of 101 old age homes conducted in Buenos Aires, Argentina during 2004 and 2005. This case study is prefaced by a brief review of key issues for long-term care across the developing world. The Argentine survey reveals considerable diversity in the performance of care homes, with most falling a long way short of internationally recognised best practice in care provision.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDEV Working Paper, School of International Development, University of East Anglia
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009

Cite this