The older persons and their relationship with younger generations in South Africa
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Changes in social policy in South Africa have resulted in the elderly being a major resource in society. This is a result of the South African government having shown its commitment to the elderly by operating a large-scale non-contributory social pension system. The Old Age Grant has become one of the primary sources of income for the elderly and their children in South Africa. This study uses qualitative data to examine co-operation between generations, especially wealth flow. The data for the study was sourced from focus groups and in-depth interviews that were conducted in South Africa. The focus groups were delineated according to youth, the middle aged and the elderly. Contrary to a widely held perception, the data presented in this study challenges the dominant discourse that sees older persons as passive recipients of care and economic support from younger generations. The results show that overall the net direction of economic wealth flow within households is not in favour of older people. Older people are disadvantaged in the emerging patterns of intergenerational economic relations, as majority of them continue to support younger generations financially.