International Handbook on Ageing and Public Policy
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International Handbook on Ageing and Public Policy

Sarah Harper, Kate Hamblin, Jaco Hoffman, Kenneth Howse and George Leeson

The International Handbook on Ageing and Public Policy explores the challenges arising from the ageing of populations across the globe for government, policy makers, the private sector and civil society. It examines various national state approaches to welfare provisions for older people, and highlights alternatives based around the voluntary and third-party sector, families and private initiatives. The Handbook is highly relevant for academics interested in this critical issue, and offers important messages for policy makers and practitioners.
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Chapter 20: Families, older persons and care in contexts of poverty: the case of South Africa

Jaco Hoffman


traditional values of family life are not only being retained but are actually being integrated with modern family characteristics with a resulting synthesis of diverse systems of family life . . . African family life is neither purely traditional nor purely Western. (Kayongo-Male and Onyango, 1984: 105) Families _ in whichever configuration and irrespective of the nature of the welfare regimes they are embedded in _ are central to the debate about how societies will face the challenges of population ageing. These challenges in the main relate to issues of families as the key social group within which both younger and older dependants are supported and the space in which the care management of particularly frail older members are rooted. Within developing country contexts it is therefore essentially about the ability of family networks to sustain mutual intergenerational support in the face of changing family structures and in the contexts of poverty and pandemics, and how this relates to government policies on care.

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