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Socio-economic challenges facing the elderly: perspectives and experiences of older people in Folweni township in KwaZulu Natal.

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The “number of older persons in South Africa is larger than in any other country in Africa. In 2017, approximately 4.54 million (8.4%) people were aged 60 years and over. The number of older persons is likely to increase to 11% by 2030. Increasingly, studies suggest that old age comes with multiple health challenges. The study investigated the challenges facing the older persons in Folweni Township in KwaZulu-Natal. For the purposes of this study, an older person is defined as someone aged 60 years and older. The aim of the study was to understand the challenges facing the older persons in Folweni Township. A case study research design was used. For this study, purposive sampling was employed to select 20 participants; 10 females and 10 males. Data was collected using qualitative in-depth interviews. The study found that the challenges older persons face include among others economic; costly medical bills, limited education, poverty, inadequate grants, lack of planning for retirement, social; lack of older persons care, lack of support networks, lack of opportunity to participate in decision-making processes, lack of entertainment, lack of clear purpose of life, lack of accessible, acceptable and available transport, and health; disease conditions, lack of access to primary health care, lack of community care, lack of adequate food, impact of HIV and AIDS, physical and psychological challenges, and witchcraft. Informed by the findings in this study, there is a need for government policy makers, professionals, and stakeholders to formulate interventions relevant to lived experiences of the older persons in Folweni Township. Interventions on older people’s livelihood, economic, social, health, support systems and community services challenges can help to improve the basic quality of life of older persons in” Folweni Township and other parts of South Africa.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.