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COPING STRATEGIES OF OLDER PERSONS IN THE PROVISION OF CARE FOR ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN: A CASE OFMITHINI LOCATION, KITUI COUNTY
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ABSTRACT

Older adults are increasingly playing the principal role in caring for orphaned grand children. In 2006 Kenya had HIV/AIDS national prevalence of 7.4 % with an estimated 1.1 million orphans under the care of older people. Not much has been documented on how older people cope with the management of OVC. it is for this reason that this study was conducted to explore and identify the strategies used by older persons in the provision of care toOVC.

Quantitative data were obtained through a questionnaire administered to selected sample of 49 older carers while qualitative data were obtained through key informant interviews with six community leaders. The Key Informants included a chief, Community Health Worker, two teachers, a children’s officer and a member of community-based organization. Data analysis of the quantitative data was done using SPSS while the qualitative data analysis was done by categorization and coding against the set parameters of the research objectives.

The results showed that older male were more in the provision of care for OVC than older women carers, Older caregivers are also responsible for providing clothing, shelter, school fees, uniforms, books and other school requirements for children in their care, majority of the carers for the OVC did not have a good experience and did not enjoy taking care of OVC and many older carers experienced difficulties and stress in adapting to a new role of parenting at old age.

This study showed that older people are playing major care giving roles amidst a multitude of challenges that included limited resources, knowledge, skills and social support related to patient care and rearing of OVC. This study recommends provision of financial support without limitation on the status of the OVC whether parent died of HIV related complications or not, advocacy for inclusion of social protection measures for older carers and OVC in national HIV/Aids policies and strategic frameworks and child focused CSOs to mainstream support to older carers of OVC including facilitating older carers support groups and parenting skills training. It has also suggested further research on collection of comprehensive age disaggregated data on the needs and roles of older people providing care for OVC, design better HIV/Aids intervention that are inclusive of older people, additional information on the nature and composition of households affected by HIV/AIDS and details of who the primary caregivers and guardians for OVC are.

http://erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/handle/11295/9225