07.01.09. How do people with dementia access long-term care? | South Africa

07.01.09. How do people with dementia access long-term care? | South Africa

15 Aug 2022

Within the private sector, long-term care arrangements can be purchased, for example, assisted living, frail care, convalescence, as well as old age care (nursing/retirement homes) where they can buy or rent accommodation and are responsible for the full cost of their stay. There are 8 registered residential care facilities in the public sector, with eligibility restricted to the frail and destitute (see discussion under Part 3). Long waiting lists and constrained resources (see Part 2) despite eligibility, create an inequitable situation where access to long-term care are usually confined to the minority who can afford it, while most South Africans rely on home-based care provided by an unpaid carer (usually a female family member) (Sevenhuijsen et al., 2003). Furthermore, older persons with dementia are often not accepted for residential care as well as denied admission to hospitals for fear of bed-blocking (Kalula & Petros, 2011; Patel & Prince, 2001), and are also sent home because of a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia amongst healthcare workers where dementia is seen as a normal part of ageing and that nothing can be done with regards to treatment (Kalula & Petros, 2011).


Kalula, S. Z., & Petros, G. (2011). Responses to Dementia in Less Developed Countries with a focus on South Africa. Global Aging, 7(1), 31–40.

Patel, V., & Prince, M. (2001). Ageing and mental health in a developing country: who cares ? Qualitative studies from Goa, India. Psychological Medicine, 31, 29–38. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8896/600da12a3c3c4b8cbb55ce3c9a8bd8cc6d6e.pdf

Sevenhuijsen, S., Bozalek, V., Gouws, A. and Minnaar-Mcdonald, M. (2003). South African social welfare policy: An analysis using the ethic of care. Critical Social Policy, 23(3), 299–321. https://doi.org/10.1177/02610183030233001