Ageing and Health

The ageing of societies is a major global achievement. However, it poses new challenges to underfunded health systems. Global demographic estimates show that until 2050, the absolute number of elderly people over 60 years will at least double in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growing old in these settings means coping with chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes or the loss of eyesight. Researchers at Swiss TPH analyse old people’s agency, deploying a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

Deploying methods from the social sciences and epidemiology, researchers at Swiss TPH focus on the health of elderly people and their individual strategies to promote health and cope with chronic disease. They investigate why some elderly people are able to access health resources and anticipate health related risks while others fail. Health promotion and care provision become a major concern for older people in low-income countries, especially for those living with chronic diseases and ageing impairments.

Ageing, Agency and Health in Urban Tanzania

Social scientists explore how elderly people live their everyday life in the changing Swahili societies of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, Tanzania. They pursue a qualitative comparative approach to assess how new care arrangements emerge in dynamic urban and transnational contexts as well as new forms of agency in response to health issues in everyday life. The study of ageing and health in Africa is a new and interdisciplinary field of research. Especially when it comes to anthropological research the field is not yet well explored.

From Cure to Care in Urban and Rural Tanzania

Elderly people in Tanzania increasingly face the high risk of infectious as well as chronic diseases. Social scientists scrutinise possibilities and solutions elderly may develop to overcome these challenging situations. They investigate why some elderly people are able to activate health resources as well as positively respond to and even anticipate health related risks, changes or adversities, while others fail.

Growing Old in Indonesia: The Quest for Elder Care

Health transition in Indonesia leads to a rapidly ageing society and to a substantial increase in prevalence of chronic illnesses in old age beside prevailing infectious diseases and ageing impairments. Social scientists at Swiss TPH investigate the needs for older Indonesians who require health care within a context of social and economic uncertainities. By this, old age vulnerability is very much affected by providing or just failing adequate care support through family members.

This old age research explores new sorts of combined care arrangements where older persons, young relatives as well as non-kins and even NGOs act as care-providers. Yet, carers associate long-term care for elderly with multiple burdens. This demanding care is thus subject to perpetual negotiations which generate new vulnerabilities for older persons.

Checking blood pressure of elderly in Indonesia.