Family support for the elderly in Zimbabwe

  • A.C. Nyanguru Department of Social Anthropology and Sociology, The National University of Lesotho
  • J. Hampson Province of the Society of Jesus, Zimbabwe
  • D.J. Adamchak Department of Sociology, Kansas State University, USA
  • A.O. Wilson Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Amersham General Hospital, UK


This article reports on a study of family support for the elderly in Zimbabwe, conducted among a sample of 150 persons aged 55 years and older. The sample was drawn in an urban area (Harare) and a commercial farming area (Bromley-Ruwa), and among residents of the communal lands of Chikwaka and Goromonzi. The majority of the respondents were married; some of the men were polygamous. Six per cent of the respondents were childless. Where the respondents had children, a large number of the children were economically inactive. Many of the children were unable to support their parents because of their own family obligations. The majority of the children neither lived with their parents nor visited them regularly. The elderly parents received few remittances from their children, even those who were employed. Some respondents were supporting their children. Policy options for encouraging family support of the elderly are suggested.


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