Informal Care Giving in Old Age : Exploring Opportunities and Challenges in Lagos State, Nigeria

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Omobolanle AMAIKE, Department of Sociology, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Population ageing is a global phenomenon that portends great consequences for the elderly and their families. With modernization, globalization and formal education, the traditional care givers, women and adult children, are increasingly unable to discharge their filial responsibilities to their ageing relations. Thus, the roles and status of older people in the family are eroded. Unfortunately, the family is expected to cater for the welfare of older people in spite of the changing social and economic realities. While the family may be handicapped to discharge its duties, the State agencies are also grossly incapable of ameliorating the situations of older people because ageing is occurring within the context of poverty and falling state resources in Africa. Although there are enormous opportunities in informal care giving, such as bonding, dignity, reciprocity, there are equally challenges that constrain intergenerational relations depending on age, gender, health and social status. Similarly, filial obligations may be accepted but there are cases of conflicts, abuses and neglect which may compromise the quality of care and life of older people. This paper examines the roles of family members (spouses and adult children) in informal care giving, the effects of these roles on well-being of older people and the social cost of care giving to care givers. Using multi-stage sampling method, 1321 older Nigerians in Lagos State were covered to explore the opportunities and challenges inherent in informal care giving. Findings indicate that daughters provided both material and non-material support while sons provided mostly financial support. The benefits of informal care giving outweighed the challenges which buttress its importance and the need to boost informal support. Modernization and social exchange theories of ageing are adopted as explanatory tools. The paper concludes with recommendations that can improve informal care giving and enhance filial relations in Nigeria.