Family Care of Older Persons in Southern Africa: A research programme

Year of award: 2022


  • Prof Elena Moore

    University of Cape Town, South Africa

Project summary

The population aged 60 years or older in sub-Saharan Africa is increasing at a more rapid rate than any other region of the world. Long-term care for older people in the region is primarily provided by families. Southern Africans are ageing in a region characterised by inadequacies in private care (families and communities), vulnerability to poverty, and exclusion from health services and the inappropriateness of existing health services to older persons. A growing burden of noncommunicable diseases increase levels of ill-health and disability amongst older persons particularly in low-income settings. Yet policy development in this area has been slow. While empirical data is quite limited, there are indications that the availability and quality of care provided to older people has been impacted by changing family structures brought about by migration, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, COVID pandemic, high rates of poverty and unemployment and changing norms around filial and community commitment to older people. This research programme aims to develop a wider theoretical understanding of the family care of older people in a Global South context, and provide frameworks to assist leaders, bureaucrats, donors and technical experts in the process of policy making to support the wellbeing of older persons.