Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Perceived quality of life and living arrangements among older rural South Africans: do all households fare the same?

  • Margaret Ralston (a1), Enid Schatz (a2) (a3), Sangeetha Madhavan (a3) (a4), F. Xavier Gómez-Olivé (a3) and Mark A. Collinson (a3) (a5) (a6)...
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.
Abstract

This study explores how living arrangements influence perceived quality of life in an elderly population in rural South Africa. We use data from the longitudinal World Health Organization Study of Global Ageing and Adult Health Survey (WHO-SAGE) and from the Agincourt Health and Socio-Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS). On average, older men and women who reside in single-generation and complex-linked multigenerational households report worse quality of life than those in two-generation and linear-linked multigenerational households. However, after controlling for prior wellbeing status, we find living arrangements to have a significant impact on women's perceived quality of life only, and that it is moderated by age. We conclude that not all multigenerational arrangements are protective of older adults’ wellbeing and highlight the gendered impact of living arrangements on quality of life. These results suggest the necessity to understand how living arrangements influence the social roles of older adults and change with age.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email: mr1636@msstate.edu
References
Hide All
Aboderin, I and Hoffman, J (2015) Families, intergenerational bonds, and aging in sub-Saharan Africa. Canadian Journal on Aging 34, 282289.
Blieszner, R and Mancini, JA (1987) Enduring ties: older adults’ parental role and responsibilities. Family Relations 36, 176180.
Bohman, D, van Wyk, NC and Ekman, S-L (2011) South Africans’ experiences of being old and of care and caring in a transitional period. International Journal of Older People Nursing 6, 187195.
Bongaarts, J and Zimmer, Z (2002) Living arrangements of older adults in the developing world: an analysis of Demographic and Health Survey household surveys. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 57B, S145S157.
Calasanti, T (2010) Gender relations and applied research on aging. The Gerontologist 50, 720734.
Case, A and Deaton, A (1998) Large cash transfers to the elderly in South Africa. The Economic Journal 108, September, 13301361.
Case, A and Menendez, A (2007) Does money empower the elderly? Evidence from the Agincourt demographic surveillance site, South Africa 1. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 35, 69 supplement, 157164.
Chen, C (2001) Aging and life satisfaction. Social Indicators Research 54, 5779.
Chen, F and Short, SE (2008) Household context and subjective well-being among the oldest old in China. Journal of Family Issues 29, 13791403.
Chepngeno-Langat, G, Madise, N, Evandrou, M and Falkingham, J (2011) Gender differentials on the health consequences of care-giving to people with AIDS-related illness among older informal carers in two slums in Nairobi, Kenya. AIDS Care 23, 15861594.
Cliggett, L (2005) Grains from Grass: Aging, Gender, and Famine in Rural Africa. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Cramm, JM, Møller, V and Nieboer, AP (2012) Individual- and neighbourhood-level indicators of subjective well-being in a small and poor Eastern Cape township: the effect of health, social capital, marital status, and income. Social Indicators Research 105, 581593.
Deaton, A (2008) Worldwide, Residents of Richer Nations More Satisfied. Available at http://www.gallup.com/poll/104608/worldwide-residents-richer-nations-more-satisfied.aspx.
Duflo, E (2003) Grandmothers and granddaughters: old-age pension and intra-household allocation in South Africa. World Bank Economic Review 17, 125.
Fischer, L (1985) Elderly parents and the caregiving role: an asymmetrical transition. In Peterson, WA and Quadagno, J (eds), Social Bonds in Later Life. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, pp. 105114.
Gómez-Olivé, FX, Thorogood, M, Clark, B, Kahn, K and Tollman, S (2010) Assessing health and well-being among older people in rural South Africa. Global Health Action 3, supplement 2, 2335.
Hays, JC (2002) Living arrangements and health status in later life: a review of recent literature. Public Health Nursing (Boston, MA) 19, 136151.
He, W, Muenchrath, MN and Kowal, PR (2012) Shades of Gray: A Cross-country Study of Health and Well-being of the Older Populations in SAGE Countries, 2007–2010. Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau.
Hoffman, J (2003) What motivates intergnerational practices in South Africa? Journal of Intergenerational Relationships 1, 173176.
Hosegood, V and Timaes, I (2005) The impact of adult mortality on the living arrangements of older people in rural South Africa. Ageing & Society 25, 431444.
Houle, B, Stein, A, Kahn, K, Madhavan, S, Collinson, M, Tollman, SM and Clark, SJ (2013) Household context and child mortality in rural South Africa: the effects of birth spacing, shared mortality, household composition and socio-economic status. International Journal of Epidemiology 42, 14441454.
Hughes, ME and Waite, LJ (2002) Health in household context: living arrangements and health in late middle age. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 43, 121.
Jivraj, S, Nazroo, J, Vanhoutte, B and Chandola, T (2013) Age, ageing and subjective wellbeing in later life. The Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, Working Paper 2013-05.
Kahn, K, Collinson, MA, Gómez-Olivé, FX, Mokoena, O, Twine, R, Mee, P, Afolabi, SA, Clark, BD, Kabudula, CW, Khosa, A, Khoza, S, Shabangu, MG, Silaule, B, Tibane, JB, Wagner, RG, Garenne, ML, Clark, SJ and Tollman, SM (2012) Profile: Agincourt health and socio-demographic surveillance system. International Journal of Epidemiology 41, 9881001.
Kahn, K, Garenne, ML, Collinson, MA and Tollman, SM (2007) Mortality trends in a new South Africa: hard to make a fresh start. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 69, supplement, 2634.
Kautz, T, Bendavid, E, Bhattacharya, J and Miller, G (2010) AIDS and declining support for dependent elderly people in Africa: retrospective analysis using demographic and health surveys. BMJ (Clinical Research) 340, c2841.
Kim, H-J, Hong, S and Kim, M (2014) Living arrangement, social connectedness, and life satisfaction among Korean older adults with physical disabilities: the results from the national survey on persons with disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 27, 307321.
Kroll, C (2015) Global development and happiness: how can data on subjective well-being inform development theory and practice? Oxford Development Studies 43, 281309.
Lloyd-Sherlock, P and Agrawal, S (2014) Pensions and the health of older people in South Africa: is there an effect? Journal of Development Studies 50, 15701586.
Madhavan, S, Schatz, E and Collinson, M (2017) Social positioning of older persons in rural South Africa: change or stability? Journal of Southern African Studies 43, 12931307.
McGregor, JA and Sumner, A (2009) After 2015: ‘3D Human Wellbeing’. In Focus issue 9. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.
McKinnon, B, Harper, S and Moore, S (2013) The relationship of living arrangements and depressive symptoms among older adults in sub-Saharan Africa. BMC Public Health 13, 682.
Møller, V (1998) Innovations to promote an intergenerational society for South Africa to promote the well-being of the black African elderly. Society in Transition 29, 112.
Mudege, NN and Ezeh, AC (2009) Gender, aging, poverty and health: survival strategies of older men and women in Nairobi slums. Journal of Aging Studies 23, 245257.
Muldoon, MF, Barger, SD, Flory, JD and Manuck, SB (1998) What are quality of life measurements measuring? British Medical Journal 316, 542544.
Mwanyangala, MA, Mayombana, C, Urassa, H, Charles, J, Mahutanga, C, Abdullah, S and Nathan, R (2010) Health status and quality of life among older adults in rural Tanzania. Global Health Action 3, supplement 2, 3644.
Nyirenda, M (2014) Ageing with HIV: An Investigation of the Health and Well-being of Older People in a Rural South African Population with a Severe HIV Epidemic (Doctoral thesis). University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
Nyirenda, M, Chatterji, S, Falkingham, J, Mutevedzi, P, Hosegood, V, Evandrou, M, Kowal, P and Newell, M-L (2012) An investigation of factors associated with the health and well-being of HIV-infected or HIV-affected older people in rural South Africa. BMC Public Health 12, 259272.
Oppong, C (2006) Familial roles and social transformations older men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Research on Aging 28, 654668.
Parker, EM and Short, SE (2009) Grandmother coresidence, maternal orphans, and school enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Family Issues 30, 813836.
Phaswana-Mafuya, N, Peltzer, K, Schneider, M, Makiwane, M, Zuma, K, Ramlagan, S, Tabane, C, Davids, A, Mbelle, N, Matseke, G and Phaweni, K (2012) Study of Global AGEing and Adult Health (SAGE), South Africa 2007–2008. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Pritchett, L (2010) Birth Satisfaction Units (BSU): Measuring cross-national differences in human well-being. Human Development Report Office and United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Research Paper HDRP-2010-03.
Ralston, M (2018) The role of older persons’ environment in aging well: quality of life, illness, and community context in South Africa. The Gerontologist 58, 111120.
Ralston, M, Schatz, E, Naidoo, N and Kowal, P (2017) Including older adults in development goals: is subjective wellbeing the answer? A case study of older South Africans. Journal of Development Studies 54, 702718.
Samanta, T, Chen, F and Vanneman, R (2015) Living arrangements and health of older adults in India. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 70B, 937947.
Schatz, E and Gilbert, L (2012) ‘My heart is very painful’: Physical, mental and social wellbeing of older women at the times of HIV/AIDS in rural South Africa. Journal of Aging Studies 26, 1625.
Schatz, E, Gómez-Olivé, X, Ralston, M, Menken, J and Tollman, S (2012) The impact of pensions on health and wellbeing in rural South Africa: does gender matter? Social Science & Medicine 75, 18641873.
Schatz, E, Madhavan, S, Collinson, M, Gómez-Olivé, FX and Ralston, M (2015) Dependent or productive? A new approach to understanding the social positioning of older South Africans through living arrangements. Research on Aging 37, 581605.
Schatz, E and Ogunmefun, C (2007) Caring and contributing: the role of older women in rural South African multi-generational households in the HIV/AIDS era. World Development 35, 13901403.
Schatz, E, Ralston, M, Madhavan, S, Gómez-Olivé, X and Collinson, M (in press) Living arrangements, disability & gender of older adults in rural South Africa. Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences. Available online doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbx081.
Schatz, E and Seeley, J (2015) Gender, ageing and carework in East and Southern Africa: a review. Global Public Health 10, 11851200.
Schmidt, S, Mühlan, H and Power, M (2006) The EUROHIS-QOL 8-item index: psychometric results of a cross-cultural field study. European Journal of Public Health 16, 420428.
Silverstein, M and Giarrusso, R (2010) Aging and family life: a decade review. Journal of Marriage and Family 72, 10391058.
Sok, SR and Yun, EK (2011) A comparison of physical health status, self-esteem, family support and health-promoting behaviours between aged living alone and living with family in Korea. Journal of Clinical Nursing 20, 16061612.
Ssengonzi, R (2009) The impact of HIV/AIDS on the living arrangements and well-being of elderly caregivers in rural Uganda. AIDS Care 21, 309314.
Steptoe, A, Deaton, A and Stone, AA (2015) Subjective wellbeing, health, and ageing. The Lancet 385, 640648.
United Nations (2015) World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, Volume I: Comprehensice Tables. No. ST/ESA/SER.A/313. New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Westaway, MS, Olorunju, SAS and Rai, L-CJ (2007) Which personal quality of life domains affect the happiness of older South Africans? Quality of Life Research 16, 14251438.
WHOQoL Group (1993) Study protocol for the World Health Organization project to develop a quality of life assessment instrument (WHOQOL). Quality of Life Research 2, 153159.
Zimmer, Z and Das, S (2014) The poorest of the poor: composition and wealth of older person households in sub-Saharan Africa. Research on Aging 36, 271296.
Zimmer, Z and Dayton, J (2003) The living arrangements of older adults in Sub-Saharan Africa in a time of HIV/AIDS. Population Council, Policy Research Division Working Paper 169.
Zimmer, Z and Dayton, J (2005) Older adults in sub-Saharan Africa living with children and grandchildren. Population Studies 59, 295312.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed