Elderly African women

Disturbing article on the plight of elderly African women. Rural / Urban migration, increasing poverty and patriarchal cultural practices such as widow-inheritance and land ownership have left many elderly women alone in the village without traditional family support.

Older people face discrimination and abuse in a variety of forms in Africa. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has had a significant impact on elderly women in a number of ways. In many cases an elderly women and grandparent of an AIDS victim may have to act as a full-time caregiver, to the detriment to their own quality of life. In the case where elderly women are suffering from AIDS themselves, it may be the case that there is no one to care for them. Furthermore, elderly women whose children have died of AIDS are invariably left destitute. In Africa and Latin America, older people are more likely to be living in absolute poverty than the population as a whole. The proportion of older people living on less than US$1 per day is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (47 per cent). The elderly traditionally have limited access in healthcare facilities and this is particularly the case in Africa where homes for the elderly are virtually non-existent. Furthermore, lack of government initiatives for the elderly persons in general, such as effective retirement policies, mean that many elderly women are financially dependent on their relatives and do not have proper access to healthcare. Continue Reading