Family plays an indispensable role in the care and support of the rising number of older people particularly in developing countries like Ethiopia where the system of public transfer is minimal. Previous studies in Ethiopia focus on institutionalized and urban-dwelling elderly with little attention to the elderly in the informal care paradigm and rural areas. This study aims to explore the health-related experiences of dependent rural elderly who get care and support within a family setting. A phenomenology method was used, and in-depth interviews were employed to collect data from purposively sampled elders. Data were inductively coded and developed into themes. Physical health and psychosocial challenges of dependent elderly in rural areas include vision and mobility problems; loneliness, grief, and sadness; feelings of inferiority in the family; abuse and neglect; lack of meaningful activities; and the feeling of being a burden on the family. Families of elderly people often experience economic conditions that make it difficult for them to provide adequate care. The findings suggest actions policymakers and other stakeholders could undertake to enhance the wellbeing and welfare of rural elderly rural in Ethiopia, including improved access to supportive technologies, day care facilities that enhance social engagement and access to healthcare, and economic support for caregivers.


experiences, dependent, rural, elderly, qualitative study, family care and support

Author Bio(s)

I have Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees (working with Children, Youth and Family stream) from Addis Ababa University. Currently I am a lecturer and researcher in Mizan-Tepi University, Department of Social Work. Please direct correspondence to yenealemkidus@gmail.com.


I would like to acknowledge older persons study participants for their time and commitment. Government officials of the study area area also should take the credit for providing a brief introduction of the area in relation to the elderly population.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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