Aging and Development

Economic Roles of Older Adults

Contrary to common ‘old age dependency ratio’ notions, a majority of older men and women in most SSA countries continue to be economically active across a spectrum of sectors and roles. One example is smallholder agriculture, where older farmers may now predominate in many farming communities as a result of disinterest or rural-urban outmigration of younger age groups. We examine the nature and scope of older people’s economic functions and their implications specifically for the achievement of a demographic dividend in Africa.

Current Project

Liben Wario Bule 88, Borena Zone, Dire District, Huka Village, April 2012 by Jeff Williams

Understanding Resilience in Later Life in a Low Resource Setting

Program: Aging and Development

This mixed method study aimed to examine how social capital, economic, and individual factors interact to shape the wellbeing of older people living in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya – as well as to gain a grounded understanding of the nature of later life ‘adversity’ and the meaning of ‘resilience’ in such settings. The project outcomes have contributed to fostering a deeper understanding of the nature of, and ways to foster the ’resilience’ of older slum residents, among policy role players locally. The findings suggest, moreover, that the nature of adversity and resilience among older slum dwellers differs makedly from, or is novel to existing conceptions in the largely Western-focused literature. Taken together, the project findings are expected to advance the scientific and policy debate on later life resilience globally



  • University of Southampton, UK


Project period 

  • 2013 -2015


Project Managers

  • Isabella Aboderin
  • Maria Evandrou (University of Southampton)

Project Funders

  • DFID

    www.gov.uk/dfid ...

  • ESRC Logo

    www.esrc.ac.uk ...

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