South Africa

South Africa has approximately 5.4 million people over the age of 60 who make up approximately 9 percent of the population. This is projected to increase to 20% (approx. 11.5 million older persons) by 2050. The vast majority, almost two thirds of black and coloured older persons live in multi-generational households. There is state financial support for older persons in South Africa and the Older (worth R1980 in 2022) Persons Grant is the main source of income for most older persons, especially those living in rural areas and in women-headed households. Eldercare is not provided and is only partially subsidised by the South African government. There are 417 residential facilities registered with the Department of Social Development (DSD) (and many unregistered private facilities), nine of which are managed by the government, and 1,713 registered community-based care and support services for older people focused on providing home-based care or community activities.

The Study


Updated: 16 November 2023​


For more recent publications about family care of older persons in South Africa see …

  • Moore, E (2023). Family care for older persons in South Africa: heterogeneity of the carer’s experience. International Journal of Care and Caregiving. (Mar 2023)
  • Gie, L., & Hoffman, J. (2023). Development of a long-term care economy in Gauteng, South Africa: towards decent work, International Journal of Care and Caring (published online ahead of print 2023). Retrieved Mar 10, 2023, from
  • Button, K. and Ncapai, T. (2019) Conflict and negotiation in intergenerational care: older women’s experiences of caring with the Old Age Grant in South Africa, Critical Social Policy, 39(4): 560–81, doi: 1177/0261018319867594.
  • Harling, G., Payne, C.F., Davies, J.I., Gomez-Olive, F.X., Kahn, K., Manderson, L., Mateen, F.J., Tollman, S.M. and Witham, M.D. (2020) Impairment in activities of daily living, care receipt, and unmet needs in a middle-aged and older rural South African population: findings from the HAALSI study, Journal of Aging and Health, 32(5–6): 296–307. doi: 1177/0898264318821220.
  • Munthree, C., Maharaj, P. (2013). Growing Old in the Era of AIDS: Perspectives and Experiences of Older Men and Women in South Africa. In: Maharaj, P. (eds) Aging and Health in Africa. International Perspectives on Aging, vol 4. Springer, Boston, MA.
  • Abdullah, S (2022) Developmental Social Welfare and Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Kinship Care of Muslim Older Persons in South Africa’. PhD Thesis, University of Cape Town

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