The South African Elderly: Neglect, Social Contribution and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Arts
Title The South African Elderly: Neglect, Social Contribution and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
The world population considered as senior (over 60) is increasing in number at an unprecedented
pace as a result of low fertility, low immigration and long lives. Before considered an issue only
by developed countries, now the phenomenon is becoming evident in developing countries too
(Thailand, Vietnam, India and so on). Globally, the number of older persons is expected to more
than double, from 841 million people in 2013 to more than 2 billion in 2050 (United Nations
DESA, 2013). According to the 2010 Report of UN Secretary-General to the General Assembly,
two-thirds of the world’s older people live in low-and middle-income countries and this
proportion will rise to 80 percent by 2050 (United Nations, 2010). This is because the older
population in less developed regions is growing at a faster pace than in the more developed areas
(United Nations DESA, 2013).
The year 2050 is expected to be the first in human history where there will be more
persons over 60 than children in the world. More than one in five of the world’s population will
be aged 60 or older. Among those in this age group, women already outnumber men and are
twice as numerous among those aged 80 or over. The oldest-old group (aged over 85 years) have
over past decades been the most rapidly expanding segment of the population in developed
countries. This group is also the most susceptible to disease and disability.
Development of mortality, disease, and disability rates in elderly people will therefore
have a fundamental effect on the sustainability of modern society. If the pace of increase in life
expectancy in developed countries over the past two centuries stays constant through the 21st
century, most babies born since 2000 in France, Germany, Italy, the UK, the USA, Canada and
Japan will likely celebrate their 100th birthdays (Christensen, Doblhammer, Rau & Vaupel,
2009). Seen these expectations, the topic of elderly protection and the issue of elderly abuse
could not be more pressing.

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