The study showed a deep fear among the elderly of being abandoned to the care of strangers.
A person who is elderly may not be able to work, and so not able to earn money for food and a place to live. As well, they may be ill and so not able to walk very much. Worse, they may be so old and ill they must stay sitting in a chair, or in bed. If so, then who will look after them? Who will provide the food? Where will they live? Hopefully, they have children, or other relatives they can live with.
Now, 'abandon' means : to cease to support or look after someone; to desert them.
So - if all the relatives abandon an old person - none of them want to take the person into their home and look after them, what will happen to them?
Maybe these relatives don't want the old person in their own home, but will pay the cost to put the old person in an Old Person's Home, where other people, strangers to the old person because they are not family or friends, are paid to cook meals for them and provide a bed to sleep in. If family won't pay these costs, then all the old person can hope is that some charity has such a home and will let the old person stay there for free.
Old people don't want that - they have a fear that family will not want them - that family will abandon them - and that they have to depend on strangers to care for their basic needs.
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