Meet the Author: Family Care of Older Persons in Southern Africa: ‘Care Crisis’ or ‘Care in contexts of crises’?

Convenor: Associate Professor Elena Moore, Department of Sociology, University of Cape Town, South Africa

The context for long term care of older persons across countries in Southern Africa includes many overlapping and reoccuring crises including poverty, HIV-AIDs (and now Covid-19), food insecurity and several natural disasters. Despite the overwhelming contexts of ongoing crises, much of the policy and some scholarly attention has focused attention on the role of families, attempting to talk about a care crisis in terms of the weakening of traditional family support rather than the entrenched structural inequities in care provision. This symposium draws attention to the familialist policies in the region that focus on normative expectations that people are supported by their families and ignore the contexts of crisis in which care takes place. We call for more complex and nuanced understandings of the ways in which families care in contexts of deepening economic, political and health crises where rising acute illness amongst the elderly and post-independent economic and social policies have increased the demands on carers and families.