Understanding and evaluating older persons services: the case of the Gauteng Province, South Africa
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This study evaluates an older persons services in Gauteng Province, South Africa. The evaluation design was informed by a formative approach. This approach is used in research as a means of gaining insight into how an intervention work and how its weaknesses (if any) can be ameliorated. Three models of care have been found to exist in Gauteng Province, namely family care, residential care, and community care. Family care traditions for older persons in South Africa, including the care of older people, are regularly referred to as examples of good indigenous practices. Family care is mostly based on the Solidarity Model where generations use their vantage position to be of assistance to a generation in need. The situation in Gauteng shows that the extended family practice might not always be available for the care of the majority of its older persons. On the other hand, while residential facilities are well established in the province, most of them are privately owned and therefore expensive for the poor majority of older persons. Community-based care emerged in South Africa partly as a solution to the lack of suitable institutions for the majority of older persons and partly as an intervention to mitigate against abuse emanating from some of the institutions meant for older persons. Yet, despite the three models, older persons across Gauteng remain more or less like a flock of sheep without a Shepard. This study argues for the use of an integrated approach of the three existing care models, which is informed by the Convoy Model. The model emphasises the importance of taking a life span and a longitudinal perspective of social relations. Relationships are informed by personal factors such as age, gender, personality, and contextual factors such as poverty. The personal and contextual factors influence the welfare of an individual.