Lonely last days? Social networks and formal care at the deathbed of urban elderly in Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent, 1797

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Abstract

This article examines the locus of care of the elderly in the cities of Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent at the end of the eighteenth century by investigating the circumstances of their decease. The article uses a cross-sectional analysis of the municipal death registers of 1797 to shed light on the informal networks and formal provisions that surrounded the urban elderly (aged 60 years and older) during their last days and shortly after their death. By evaluating the roles of hospitals and private houses as places of death and the presence of family and neighbours as witnesses, the article assesses both formal and informal channels of support. In addition, the article examines how the locus of care correlated with marital status, socio-economic position and migration background.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-148
Number of pages26
JournalThe History of the Family
Volume26
Issue number1
Early online date31 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2021

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