Rethinking social care services for elderly persons in Zambia
Abstract: The Elderly people in Zambia face numerous challenges resulting from high poverty levels, stigma, and social exclusion, poor service provision in old people's homes, and lack of proper care and support from family and the public. In addition, changes in population ageing have also resulted in increased longevity affecting the obligatory responsibilities of the state and the family to meet individual needs in caregiving adequately. This situation demands to rethink of how social care service provision in Zambia can be improved by identifying the best approaches for quality services and quality access to basic needs both in care homes and in communities and ensuring that elderly persons lead a good and decent life during their last years of life. The research aims to explore a deeper understanding of how elderly people want to live their lives and how their relatives, the state, and community members should care for them. The qualitative research design was used with the phenomenological approach to understanding the experiences and perceptions of elderly persons. The study recruited 24 participants and targeted elderly people from rural and urban communities, elderly people from Maramba old people's homes, community volunteers, social workers, and a caregiver. The study uses a conceptual framework of social care and social inclusion to clearly understand the challenges of elderly people in an ageing society. The data from the semi-structured interviews were complemented with a group discussion. Findings were analyzed using thematic analysis to generate themes with reference to the literature review. The findings point to limited access to basic needs and social care services both in old people's homes and in communities. The experiences and perspectives of the elderly related to social care provisions are physical, emotional, relation and esteem, and independent, categorized into three themes: Social relation care, Empowerment support and power, and physical and health care. The most fundamental element of care is social relations which provide emotional and self-esteem, belonging, and worthiness for elderly persons.
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