Family Caregiving of Older Persons in Southern Africa:

Research Programme funded by a Wellcome Career Award

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. Health and state systems are not prepared for the rapidly aging population and increase in non-communicable disease rate that is happening in the region. There is virtually no elder care provision, and a limited range of social protection mechanisms that support care. Older persons in the region are already heavily dependent on family care. However, we do not have a sociological understanding of how family care takes place in different households across the region. If we want to understand how we can support aging populations, we need to understand family care practices of older persons. The research programme on family caregiving of older persons in Southern Africa is funded by a 5 year Wellcome Career Award and comprises of three parts which have three main aims:

The Research Study

The Research Study seeks to advance the empirical and theoretical understanding of family care and wellbeing of older persons across Southern Africa by examining the intended and unintended consequences of familialist policies in a region where so much intergenerational family care takes place. Moreover, we seek to explain the gender dynamics that underlie caregiving which leads to insights as to barriers and constraints to the development of gender equality, which is a key aspiration for the region.


Public Engagement

The public engagement programme aims to create awareness and understanding of the challenges families and care systems face in terms of caring for older persons and improving the health and wellbeing of older persons.

The Research Development Plan

The Researcher Development Plan aims to support and develop a generation of Southern African-based experts in care of older persons by supporting scholars in this area.