Care needs of the frail elderly at home in Matwabeng
Nieuwenhuis, Elizabeth C.
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Worldwide the population of the elderly is growing larger. South Africa experiences the same significant ageing phenomenon as the rest of the world, with the number of persons aged 65 and older increasing yearly. The elderly population in Matwabeng (Senekal), that forms a part of the Thabo Mofutsanyane Local District Municipality in the Free State, shows the same international tendency. It is ageing population place a greater burden for care on several resources, including relatives, caregivers, communities, the Department of Health, Department of Social Development and other relevant non-governmental organizations. Ageing populations have a significant impact on all types of health care provision, because the increasing years may not necessarily be spent in good health. Added to the escalation in the number of chronic medical conditions that forms part of the natural ageing process, and elderly care becomes more complicated. The growing number of older people in communities inevitably leads to an increased demand for nurses to work with the elderly. More, older persons visiting local clinics brings an increase in chronic medical conditions, while the existing clinics are already being overcrowded. Primary health care services encounter pronounced challenges in providing frail care services to the elderly due to the cumulative effects of the variety of chronic medical conditions that need more nursing attention than can be provided during a single visit. Frail care services need a new innovative plan to address the needs of the elderly in the community because current primary health care services cannot provide for all the various needs of frail elderly residents in in a community. Furthermore, there are not enough resources to accommodate all the frail elderly in residential care facilities in their own communities. Literature on the requirements and care of the frail elderly is extremely limited and to plan for the rational long-term care of these people, more information is needed. This study aimed to determine specifically what the care needs of the frail elderly living at home were. This will assist the decision makers in planning in caring for this growing group of people. In order to determine the needs of frail elderly residing at home, the researcher examine the frail elderly living in Matwabeng with regard to their needs by means of questionnaires.