Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

"It's Like I Never Had a Child of My Own": Care and Support for the Elderly in a Changing Socioeconomic Context in Rural Uganda

Amurwon ,Jovita


Objectives: Individual households remain important for elderly care and support in resource-limited settings. Factors such as availability of young people and ownership of assets are important for care and support for the elderly. This article examines changing trends in accessing care and support for the elderly in a context of socioeconomic changes such as increasing school attendance and outmigration of youth from rural areas.Method: Rich data from the life stories of individuals from 22 households in rural Uganda collected in 2009-2010 were analyzed.Results: The elderly were lacking care and support, as the youth experienced increasing schooling and outmigration. The loss of young adults from HIV infection deprived the elderly of care and support, and increased their responsibilities of caring for the sick and the orphans. Mitigating factors included remittances and asset ownership. The availability of free health care encouraged people to stay in households to utilize these resources while also caring for the elderly members.Discussion: With the current socioeconomic transformations, the rules and resources used in the traditional care system no longer serve as a "safety network" for the elderly. Adaptation efforts from individual households cannot deal with the multiple concurrent changes. Programs to increase education should consider investing in additional social programs, especially for those who are negatively impacted by increased access to education.


Aging; Caregiving; Socioeconomic change; Uganda; Universal access to education

Published in

Journals of Gerontology, Series B
2019, Volume: 74, number: 8, pages: 1483-1491

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG4 Quality education

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Gerontology, specialising in Medical and Health Sciences

    Publication Identifiers


    Permanent link to this page (URI)