Review Article

An investigative study of the experiences of elderly people in a South African black township

G. M. Chigali, M. Marais, R. M. B. Mpofu
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 58, No 3 | a218 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v58i3.218 | © 2002 G. M. Chigali, M. Marais, R. M. B. Mpofu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 January 2002 | Published: 13 January 2002

About the author(s)

G. M. Chigali, Livingston General Hospital, Livingstone, Zambia
M. Marais, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
R. M. B. Mpofu, Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences which impact on aspects of the lives and sense of well-being of elderly people in a township in South Africa in order to make recommendations for future service delivery. A cross- sectional, qualitative survey was carried out in Mfuleni Township, a part of the Cape Metropolitan Region in the Western Cape.  Sixteen people of ages ranging from 60-82 years were conveniently selected from a group of elderly people who meet regularly at a community centre. Data were collected through focused  group discussions and unstructured interviews. Analysis of data revealed three main categories namely, psychological/ emotional, socio-economic and health, under which different themes emerged. The experiences of individuals in a given society may vary, but somehow, their basic rights tend to be universal as revealed by the literature. Loneliness and isolation, lack of recreation facilities, loss of dignity and respect, poor health services and lack of shelter are some of the experiences expressed by the elderly people in this sample. These experiences highlight the need for clearly stated policies and
commitment by governmental and non-governmental structures, appropriate health service strategies and improved socio-economic standards supported by properly researched data.

Keywords

ageing; gerontology; healthy ageing; needs of older persons

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