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Limitations of spouse and children in supporting older people in Nigeria: implications and policy relevance

Akanni I. Akinyemi, Obafemi Awolowo University
Joshua Aransiola, Obafemi Awolowo University
Olusina Bamiwuye, Obafemi Awolowo University
Funmi Banjo, Obafemi Awolowo University

Studies have documented that family, particularly children and spouses are the main support providers for the elderly in most African countries. Traditional African belief supported high fertility and polygamous unions in order to guarantee adequate support in old age. With the changing social and demographic structures, how well can this view hold? This is the crux of this paper. In a study that covered randomly selected 947 elderly respondents in South-Western Nigeria, we examined five indicators of measures of unmet needs from Spouse and children. The study found that there were high levels of unmet needs from spouse and children. Unmet need for finance, visitation and improved status were more pronounced from children than spouse. Logistic regression model further showed the correlates of high unmet needs from spouse and children. The study concludes that spouse and children capacity to support the elderly is limited.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Poster Session 4: health and ageing