Caring for the elderly: Theoretical perspectives

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Caring for the elderly has generated heated debates among social policy analysts and scholars particularly with regards to its consistent association with issues of gender roles, psychological, social and economic conundrums, as well as ethical and legal challenges. This paper aims to discuss the theorisation of care from different disciplinary perspectives and their practical implications for caring for the elderly. By employing the secondary data analysis method, it critically reviews the main theories of caring and points out their strengths and limitations. The analysis elaborates theorisation of care from: sociological point of view covering social/family, modernisation/industrialisation perspectives; psychological aspects focusing on emotions and mental health; economic and market driven forces; feminist thoughts; legal/ethical/rights perspectives; and biological and medical conditions. The paper argues that despite valid explanations of caring for the elderly, though with respective limitations, these theories failed to provide solutions that focus on best caring for the elderly. This is so because each disciplinary theoretical perspective has its own narrow agenda, disregarding the best interest of and caring for the elderly. That agenda may be profit, saving costs, shifting responsibilities (in terms of private, public, family, gender) and professional self-interest. This analysis has implications for integrating these theoretical perspectives to explore best possible ways to prevent neglect of and ensure caring for the elderly with dignity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2021
Event22nd Biennial Conference of the International Consortium for Social Development 2021: ICSD 2021 - University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Duration: 13 Jul 202116 Jul 2021 (Conference website)


Conference22nd Biennial Conference of the International Consortium for Social Development 2021
Abbreviated titlePoverty, inequality and social development: Innovations around the world
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
Internet address


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