Determinants of value and challenges of older persons in Uganda
MetadataShow full item record
Later life issues in Uganda are becoming an area of research and policy interest owing to the rising population of older persons. Although there is moderate information on old age benefits and constraints, less is known about associated risk factors within the context of the country’s social and cultural setting. This study bridges the information gap by analysing the determinants of older persons‟ value and challenges. Four rural districts were randomly selected while Kampala City was purposely chosen in a 2012 cross-sectional study. A sample of 605 older persons was determined using the Kish (1965) method and quantitative data was collected from this selection using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Ten Focus Group Discussions and 12 key informant interviews were also conducted to collect qualitative data. Binary logistic regression model was used to analyse socio-demographic factors that predict older persons‟ value and challenges. Engagement in economic activities, possession of ethnoscience knowledge, advice on behaviour norms and leadership of social organisations were operationalised as indicators of value; while loneliness, illhealth and living in dilapidated shelter were operationalised as indicators of challenges. Binary logistic regression analysis indicates that, in comparison with older persons with no formal education, the odds of engaging in income-generating activities were significantly higher for persons with primary and higher education. Age, ownership of means of transport, possession of domestic animals and limb-joint health status also predicted this value. Older persons with primary or higher education were less likely to possess ethnoscience knowledge than their uneducated counterparts. Findings further indicate that male older persons were more likely to be leaders of social organisations than their female counterparts. Education and ownership of means of transport also predicted this value. It is shown further that older persons residing in rural areas were more likely to offer advice on behaviour norms than those staying in the urban environment. Age, education, radio set ownership, possession of any means of transport, land ownership and living arrangement also predicted older persons‟ advice on behaviour norms. Their value notwithstanding, older persons were faced with several constraints. Binary logistic regression analysis further shows that, in comparison with older persons aged 60-69, those aged 80+ were more likely to have sight difficulty. The marital status of older persons affected later life loneliness, with odds of experiencing this challenge being higher among widowed older persons than their married counterparts. Residence, limb-joint health status, TV ownership, social protection status and main material of shelter floor also predicted loneliness. As hypothesised, place of residence did not significantly determine the quality of shelter in which older persons resided. In the light of findings the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology & Sports is urged to increase learner access and retention rates in the national education system which can translate into a higher proportion of educated persons who ultimately attain advanced age and, hence, experience active ageing. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development could consider institutionalising a national framework for documenting, disseminating and harnessing older persons‟ indigenous knowledge, regardless of formal education. Findings further imply enhancement of affirmative principles that promote women participation in leadership positions in later life. Initiating policy measures that strengthen and galvanise rural and urban older persons respectively as advisors on issues of ethics should be a worthwhile undertaking. Lastly, sustainable livelihoods and management of later life challenges calls for establishment of a Special Old Age Fund that can supplement the current donor-driven Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment.