This paper discusses the potential abuse and mistreatment against older adults by informal caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic has distorted many informal caregivers’ roles, which require serious adjustment for reducing caregiving stress and burden. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenging situations in caregiving spaces, which have the tendency to cause informal caregivers to abuse older adults. However, research on elder abuse and mistreatment, up to this point, remains underexplored in Africa. We, therefore, call for a deeper research and interrogation on the pathways and dynamics of violence and abuse against older adults in Africa. We also raise awareness of increased risks of domestic elder abuse and neglect during COVID-19 to stimulate the interest of social welfare institutions in understanding this phenomenon and its prevalence in Africa. We argue that the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as an avenue for governments, social welfare institutions, public health authorities, civil society and traditional leaders in African countries to develop a comprehensive programme and create public awareness to protect older adults against abuse, violence and neglect. The practical ways of minimising the effect of COVID-19 on domestic elder abuse in African settings are further discussed.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- COVID-19 pandemic
- older adults
- elder abuse
- informal caregivers