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Challenges of Female Older Adults Caring for Their very old Parents in Rural Southeast Nigeria: A Qualitative Descriptive Inquiry

A Correction to this article was published on 06 May 2023

This article has been updated


As a result of population aging, more family caregivers are maturing into older adult status alongside their parents who constitute the ‘very old.‘ However, very little is known about the challenges faced by family caregivers who have reached old age status, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Following this, we explored the challenges of female older adults caring for their very old parents in rural Southeast Nigeria. We adopted a qualitative descriptive study design, and purposively selected and interviewed 14 older adults who were caregivers of their very old parents. The collected data were analyzed using conventional content analysis. Findings show that participants felt psychologically stressed for still taking care of their older parents and avoided seeking psychological support because they will be shamed for complaining or seeking help as a result of the caregiving burden. Caregiving also led to feelings of frustration as a result of the economic demand, feminization of caregiving, and caregiving-induced social isolation. Factors such as depression, fatigue, poor finance, and poor support from male siblings have heightened the burden of caregiving for their very old parents. This small-scale study in rural Southeast Nigeria will inform future research directions and potentially influence policies and interventions to meet the needs of family caregivers entering senior age status.

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Iwuagwu, A.O., Ngwu, C.N. & Ekoh, C.P. Challenges of Female Older Adults Caring for Their very old Parents in Rural Southeast Nigeria: A Qualitative Descriptive Inquiry. Population Ageing 15, 907–923 (2022).

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