A history of elderly parent care giving in Kenya, Mumias East Sub-County, 1963-2016
Chitechi, Brenda Shikuku
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The purpose of this study was to explore the history of care giving to the elderly parents and its sustainability in Mumias East sub-county, Kenya. It examined the support from family and attitude towards care and the elderly. The study sought to establish the historical trend of familial care giving, explore the different care giving models and examine the different causal factors to shifts in the care models in the sub-county. The study also adopted the theory of care as a career since different caregivers and the elderly parents were unique in several aspects (financial ability, available care, age, state of health, support from family and the OPCTP) hence the different level of care depicted and needed by the caregivers and care receivers in different environments. The study was ethnographic and used qualitative approach with respondents chosen in regard to factors like age, gender, level of education, health of both caregiver and care receiver. The sampling was purposively done. The study employed several data collection methods, like in-depth and key informant interviews and semi-structured interviews, participant observation, focus group discussions and historical documents on ageing. The study established that family is still the main source of care and social well-being in Mumias east sub-county with females providing more care in line with the traditionally stipulated gender roles but is strained and unable to keep up care elderly parents effectively. Though sons in the study were slowly sliding into the role of caregivers, their culture and tradition restricted them instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and their care depended on their wife’s involvement or acquisition of paid labour. At the community level, care was a humanitarian venture and dependent on the previous relations of the care receiver and the people around them. The Involvement of the state in care was depicted by the level of financial need of care receivers.