Older white people's experiences of giving care to or receiving care from their children
Social and demographic changes have a tremendous effect on the care for older people to the effect that caring for older people might have become a rare commodity. Increased life expectancy during the past century has prolonged the period in which older people need care and has made family care giving an increasingly recurrent activity for adult children. After the demolition of the apartheid area in South Africa, most research focused on previously disadvantaged groups, namely Black and Brown people which resulted in a research gap regarding older White people. Little is known about older White people’s experiences of care in South Africa, as older White people are viewed as the minority group who were not previously disadvantaged. However, older White people’s vulnerability is increasing because poverty is currently escalating amongst older White South African people as a result of early retirement and retrenchment because of employment equity and the conversion goal of Black Economic Empowerment. The aim of this study was to explore older White people’s experiences of giving care to and receiving care from their children. A qualitative research approach with an explorative and descriptive nature was utilized for this study as the research question was aimed at understanding a subjective phenomenon. This research design allows the participants to give meaning to their own experiences. A case study design was followed during this research study in order to provide an in-depth description of older White people’s experience of care. The specific population for this study consisted of all White people older than 60 years, co-residing with their adult children and living in the Midvaal area of the Vaal Triangle, Gauteng. Data were collected through journaling and semi-structured interviews, with 10 older White people. Interviews were conducted on a one-on-one basis at the office of the researcher or at the houses of the participants. This ensured the preservation of the participants’ relationship with their children. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Data were reduced through thematic data analysis and emerging themes and categories were identified. The principles and strategies for enhancing the trustworthiness of the data were done through crystallization and neutrality. The results indicated that older White people’s experience of care can be summarized by means of physical, emotional and financial care. Most of the participants in this study were still physically independent from their children and they could attend to their own physical care. Emotional care was identified by the participants as the ultimate indicator of caring and this component contributed profoundly to their psychological well-being. The financial care component highlighted that older White people’s vulnerability is increasing and that poverty is more prevalent in older White people than what is reflected in current research.
- Humanities