The emerging problems of the aged in Ghana: issues of housing and basic care: A case study of some selected Districts in Ashanti Region

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The issue of the aged particularly in Ghana has become a major concern to the government in particular and society in general in recent years. In view of this, a number of policies have been put in place to reduce the burden on the people including the aged. Notwithstanding, the conditions of the aged have not changed. The study sought to investigate into the healthcare, housing, social and financial issues of the aged, and examine the various policies meant to support their wellbeing in Kumasi Metropolis and Bosomtwi District within Ashanti Region. Purposive sampling technique was adopted for the selection of the study area while snowballing was used in locating the respondents. Interview guide and questionnaire were used for the collection of data from the respondents. Mathematical formula with five percent margin of error was used in determining the sample size of 264. The statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS, 2007 version) was then used for the analysis of the data. The survey revealed that about 63 percent of the aged depend on remittances and philanthropic support from children and other source, while 36.7 percent depend on pension and other investments. The cost of living for the aged is relatively high, about 77.4 percent of their expenditure goes into food. Agriculture sector employs 42.4 percent an increased from 32.2 percent before retirement age. Seventy-eight percent of the aged either live in rented or family house. Only 22 percent owned their house. About 93 percent uses KVIP and pit latrine and 80.7 percent access it outside their house. About 90 percent also have access to potable water and these have health implications. About 64 percent of the aged have either divorced or widowed and therefore suffers loneliness, 47 percent use visitation of friends to break boredom and reduce their stress level. Self-medication was found to be a frequent habit among the aged, as 63 percent rely more on medicine to sustain their health conditions. About 58 percent of the aged suffer from a multiple or more than one illness while 24 percent had bodily/joint pains. Beside SSNIT pension scheme which is documented in the National Aged Policy and largely skewed towards those in the formal employment, there was no other policy directly made to support the aged. The institutions such as the Religious group, the Assembly, the Social Welfare and other NGOs also have no clear and direct policy towards supporting all aged. All the age cohorts, thus, the youth, the adult and the aged are dealt with as one unit and made to iv compete for the socio-economic interventions by the state leading to the aged being competed off. It was recommended that, a fund be put in place called “aged fund” which would seek to ensure the aged wellbeing. The age at which one qualifies for a free or subsidized premium payment of the national health insurance scheme should be reduced to 65 years. Long term housing policy be established to ensure that every worker have his/her own house before reaching the retirement age. Social centres should be put in place in the communities to improve their social interactions.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE IN DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND PLANNING. 2012