SOCIAL SUPPORT TO OLDER PERSONS WITH CHRONIC DISEASES AND THE BURDEN ON CAREGIVERS IN OGUN STATE, NIGERIA.
Keywords:Ageing, financial, physical health, sub-Saharan
The importance of social support in alleviating the physical health, economic, and psychological challenges of older
persons cannot be overemphasized. However, social support to older persons with chronic diseases has not been fully
explored while the caregivers’ burden to this category of patients is relatively unknown in Nigeria.
This study aimed to evaluate the social support available to older persons with chronic diseases and determine the
burden of care on the caregivers. A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among 405 consecutively sampled
chronically diseased older patients aged ≥ 60 years and 53 of their caregivers in two Nigerian tertiary healthcare
facilities. A 32-item questionnaire that explored the patients’ socio-demographics, social supports received or desired
and the caregivers’ burden experienced in the care of older patients was administered to the participants. The majority
of the patients (282; 69.6%) were aged 60-69 years; 311 (76.8%) claimed the social support they received was from
family and 278(68.6%) indicated that financial support was most desired from the government. Marginally half of the
caregivers (27; 50.9%) were female and 13 (24.5%) had to resign to care for their patients. Family is the main source
of social support for older persons with chronic diseases in Nigeria. The family caregivers’ burden to older people
with chronic diseases is huge.