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Changes in family structures and roles, and its impact on older people in displacement in Abuja, Nigeria


The family is the major source of care and support to older people in Nigeria. However, displacement can destabilize family compositions and limit the role of the family in caring for and supporting older people. This study was aimed at investigating the changes in family structures and roles as a result of displacement, and the impact on older people. Qualitative data was collected from ten displaced older adults using interviews. The collected data was analyzed thematically using Nvivo 12. Findings show that a greater proportion of the sampled older persons lost their family members during the events leading to displacement; limiting the family’s ability to support older people in displacement, as support for older people from the family greatly depreciated after displacement. With this, the study recommends the need for more formal support to older people from FBOs, NGOs, and the government to cushion the effects of the gap created by changes in family structures and roles as a result of displacement. The study also advocates for the review and adoption of the 2003 internal displacement policy draft and the expansion of the pension scheme to help provide social security to older people in displacement.

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The lead author wishes to acknowledge Dr. Elisabeth Schroeder-Butterfill for her guidiance in the project from which the data for this study emanated from. He also wishes to appreciate Department of Gerontology, University of Southampton and the Commonwealth scholarship board for the opportunity to study in their wonderful citadel of learning.

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Correspondence to Prince Chiagozie Ekoh.

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Ekoh, P.C., Okoye, U.O., Agbawodikeizu, P.U. et al. Changes in family structures and roles, and its impact on older people in displacement in Abuja, Nigeria. Population Ageing 15, 925–941 (2022).

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