Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 20
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Asiki, Gershim Baisley, Kathy Kamali, Anatoli Kaleebu, Pontiano Seeley, Janet and Newton, Robert 2015. A prospective study of trends in consumption of cigarettes and alcohol among adults in a rural Ugandan population cohort, 1994-2011. Tropical Medicine & International Health, Vol. 20, Issue. 4, p. 527.

    Moyer, Eileen 2015. The Anthropology of Life After AIDS: Epistemological Continuities in the Age of Antiretroviral Treatment. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 44, Issue. 1, p. 259.

    Schatz, Enid and Seeley, Janet 2015. Gender, ageing and carework in East and Southern Africa: A review. Global Public Health, Vol. 10, Issue. 10, p. 1185.

    Wandera, Stephen Ojiambo Golaz, Valerie Kwagala, Betty and Ntozi, James 2015. Factors associated with self-reported ill health among older Ugandans: A cross sectional study. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Vol. 61, Issue. 2, p. 231.

    Wandera, Stephen Kwagala, Betty and Ntozi, James 2015. Determinants of access to healthcare by older persons in Uganda: a cross-sectional study. International Journal for Equity in Health, Vol. 14, Issue. 1, p. 26.

    CHAZAN, MAY 2014. Everyday mobilisations among grandmothers in South Africa: survival, support and social change in the era of HIV/AIDS. Ageing and Society, Vol. 34, Issue. 10, p. 1641.

    Drah, Bright B. 2014. ‘Older Women’, Customary Obligations and Orphan Foster Caregiving: The Case of Queen Mothers in Manya Klo, Ghana. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, Vol. 29, Issue. 2, p. 211.

    Kasedde, Susan Doyle, Aoife M. Seeley, Janet A. and Ross, David A. 2014. They are not always a burden: Older people and child fostering in Uganda during the HIV epidemic. Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 113, p. 161.

    Asiki, G. Murphy, G. Nakiyingi-Miiro, J. Seeley, J. Nsubuga, R. N. Karabarinde, A. Waswa, L. Biraro, S. Kasamba, I. Pomilla, C. Maher, D. Young, E. H. Kamali, A. and Sandhu, M. S. 2013. The general population cohort in rural south-western Uganda: a platform for communicable and non-communicable disease studies. International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 42, Issue. 1, p. 129.


    de Klerk, Josien 2013. Being tough, being healthy: local forms of counselling in response to adult death in northwest Tanzania. Culture, Health & Sexuality, Vol. 15, Issue. sup4, p. S482.

    Chepngeno-Langat, Gloria Falkingham, Jane C. Madise, Nyovani J. and Evandrou, Maria 2012. Concern About HIV and AIDS Among Older People in the Slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Risk Analysis, Vol. 32, Issue. 9, p. 1512.

    Schatz, Enid 2012. Rationale and procedures for nesting semi-structured interviews in surveys or censuses. Population Studies, Vol. 66, Issue. 2, p. 183.

    Seeley, Janet 2012. The Changing Relationships of Co-wives Over Time in Rural Southern Uganda. Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 48, Issue. 1, p. 68.

    Wright, Stuart Zalwango, Flavia Seeley, Janet Mugisha, Joseph and Scholten, Francien 2012. Despondency Among HIV-Positive Older Men and Women in Uganda. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, Vol. 27, Issue. 4, p. 319.

    Nyanzi, Stella 2011. Ambivalence Surrounding Elderly Widows’ Sexuality in Urban Uganda. Ageing International, Vol. 36, Issue. 3, p. 378.

    Scholten, Francien Mugisha, Joseph Seeley, Janet Kinyanda, Eugene Nakubukwa, Susan Kowal, Paul Naidoo, Nirmala Boerma, Ties Chatterji, Somnath and Grosskurth, Heiner 2011. Health and functional status among older people with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. BMC Public Health, Vol. 11, Issue. 1,

    Taylor, Ben Bukenya, Dominic van Asten, Piet Agol, Dorice Pain, Adam and Seeley, Janet 2011. The impact of HIV on agricultural livelihoods in southern Uganda and the challenges of attribution. Tropical Medicine & International Health, Vol. 16, Issue. 3, p. 324.

    Seeley, Janet Dercon, Stefan and Barnett, Tony 2010. The effects of HIV/AIDS on rural communities in East Africa: a 20-year perspective. Tropical Medicine & International Health, Vol. 15, Issue. 3, p. 329.

    Nyanzi, Stella 2009. Widowed mama-grannies buffering HIV/AIDS-affected households in a city slum of Kampala, Uganda. Gender & Development, Vol. 17, Issue. 3, p. 467.


‘This is where we buried our sons’: people of advanced old age coping with the impact of the AIDS epidemic in a resource-poor setting in rural Uganda

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 10 December 2008

Much research on the impact of HIV and AIDS on older people fails to differentiate between age groups, and treats those aged from 50 years to the highest ages as homogeneous. The ‘oldest old’ or those aged over 75 years may be particularly vulnerable through declining health and independence as a result of the AIDS epidemic, which has forced some to take on roles that younger relatives would have performed had they lived. In this paper we describe the past and current experience of eight people in advanced old age living in rural Uganda who were informants for an ethnographic study of the impact of HIV and AIDS on households during 1991–92 and again in 2006–07. The aim of the study was to understand how they had coped with the impacts of the epidemic. From the eight case studies, it is concluded that family size, socio-economic status and some measure of good fortune in sustained good health enabled these people to live to an advanced age. While we recommend that targeted social protection is important in helping the poorest among the oldest, we suggest that sustaining respect for age and experience, and ensuring that older people do not feel discarded by family and society are as important as meeting their practical needs.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Janet Seeley, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, NorwichNR4 7TJ, UK. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. E. Bunnell , J. Nassozi , E. Marum , J. Mubangizi , S. Malamba , B. Dillon , J. Kalule , J. Bahizi , N. Musoke and J. H. Mermin 2005. Living with discordance: knowledge, challenges and prevention strategies of HIV-discordant couples in Uganda. AIDS Care, 17, 8, 9991012.

M. G. Cattrell 1990. Models of old age among the Samia of Kenya: family support of the elderly. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 5, 375–94.

R. Crosnoe and G. H. Elder Jr 2002. Successful adaptation in the later years: a life course approach to aging. Social Psychology Quarterly, 65, 5, 309–28.

J. Dayton and M. Ainsworth 2004. The elderly and AIDS: coping with the impact of adult death in Tanzania. Social Science and Medicine, 59, 10, 2161–72.

C. DeWilde 2003. A life-course perspective on social exclusion and poverty. British Journal of Sociology, 54, 1, 109–28.

G. Foster , R. Shakespeare , F. Chinemana , H. Jackson , S. Gregson , C. Marange and S. Mashumba 1995. Orphan prevalence and extended family care in a peri-urban community in Zimbabwe. AIDS Care, 7, 317.

J. Knodel , Z. Zimmer , K. S. Kim and S. Puch 2007. The effect on elderly parents in Cambodia of losing an adult child to AIDS. Population and Development Review, 33, 3, 479500.

D. Serwadda , R. H. Gray , M. J. Wawer , R. Y. Stallings , N. K. Sewankambo , J. K. Konde-Lule , B. Lainjo and R. Kelly 1995. The social dynamics of HIV transmission as reflected through discordant couples in rural Uganda. AIDS, 9, 7, 745–50.

K. W. Wachter , J. E. Knodel and M. VanLandingham 2003. Parental bereavement: heterogeneous impacts of AIDS in Thailand. Journal of Econometrics, 112, 1, 193206.

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? *