• Janetta Ananias Department of Human Sciences: Section Social Work, University of Namibia
  • Herman Strydom Department of Social Work, School of Psychosocial and Behavioural Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus
  • Suria Ellis Statistical Consultation Services, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus




support group, informal caregivers, older person, abuse, neglect, prevent


The article aims to describe an evaluation on the effectiveness of a support group with informal caregivers of older people in an urban and rural community setting in Namibia. The support group programme equipped informal caregivers with knowledge on aging and caregiving. In addition, coping skills and support were offered to the informal caregivers. Standardised measuring instruments that assessed the outcome of the group at pre-test, post-test and postponed post-test were the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) and the Potentially Harmful Behaviour (PHB) scale. The Group Engagement Measure (GEM) assessed the group processes at the fourth, sixth and eighth group sessions. Results indicated that rural caregivers experienced more burden than urban caregivers. Generally, potential harmful behaviour has decreased significantly. Caregivers from the urban group were more engaged in the group process than the rural group. Support group interventions indeed contributed positively towards community care of older people.  Implications for social work practice are discussed.


Metrics Loading ...


Miller, L.S., Lewis, M.S., Williamson, G.M., Lance, C.E., Dooley, W.K., Schulz, R. and Weiner, M.F. (2006). “Caregiver Cognitive Status and Potentially Harmful Caregiver Behavior†Aging and Mental Health 10(2):125-133. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13607860500310500

Ministry of Health and Social Services. (1997). “Situation on Social Welfare Policies in Namibia†Volume 1: Summary and Recommendations Namibia: The Green Paper Draft 1.

Nangombe, H. and Ackermann, L. (2013). “Subsistence and Protection Needs of the Elderly Living in Katutura, Windhoek (Namibia)†Research on Aging 35(2):182-200. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0164027512439071

National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2004). Caregiving in the United States Washington, DC: National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.

National Planning Commision. (2003). 2001 Population and Housing Census Windhoek: Central Bureau of Statistics.

Neuman, W.L. (2011). Social Research Methods: Qualitative and

Quantitative Approaches Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Seventh Edition.

Olivier, K. (2009). An HIV and AIDS Group Work Programme Empowering Adolescents for the Possible Death of Their Caregiver (Unpublished Doctoral Thesis) Potchefstroom: North-West University.

Patel, L., Kaseke, E. and Midgley, J. (2013). “Indigenous Welfare and Community-based Social Development: Lessons from African Innovations†in Butterfield, A.K. and Abye T. (Eds.). Social Development and Social Work: Learning from Africa New York: Routledge, 12-31. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10705422.2012.644217

Phakathi, N. (2011). Exploring Elder Abuse among Clinic Attendees in a Selected Durban Hospital (Unpublished Master’s Dissertation) Durban: University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Ruiz-Gonzalez, C. (2012). A Support Group for Caregivers of Chronically Ill Depressed Older Adults: Grant Proposal (Unpublished Master’s Dissertation) Long Beach: California State University.

Splinter, A.P. (2009). An Investigation into How Elderly Persons Perceive Elder Abuse (Unpublished Master’s Dissertation) Cape Town: University of the Western Cape.

Strydom, H. (2011). “Ethical Aspects of Research in the Social Sciences and Human Service Professions†in De Vos, A.S., Strydom, H., Fouché, C.B. and Delport, C.S.L., (Eds.). Research at Grassroots: For the Social Sciences and Human Service Professions Pretoria: Van Schaik, Fourth Edition, 113-130.

Toseland, R.W. and Rivas, R.F. (2005). An Introduction to Group Work Practice Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., Fifth Edition.

United Nations. (2002). Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging (MIPAA) New York: United Nations.

United Nations. (2003). Report of the Second World Assembly on Ageing 8-12 April 2002 New York: Department of Public Information, 79.

Von Heydrich, L. (2009). An Ecological Bi-focal Model for Elder Physical Abuse by Adult Child: A Structural Equation Modeling of Risk Factors Predicting Elder Abuse in the United States (Unpublished Doctoral Thesis) East Lansing: Michigan State University.

Wallhagen, M. I. and Yamamoto-Mitani, N. (2006). “The Meaning of Family Caregiving in Japan and the United States: A Qualitative Comparative Study†Journal of Transcultural Nursing 17(1):65-73. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1043659605281979

Whitlatch, C.J., Zarit S.H. and Von Eye, A. (1991). “Efficacy of Interventions with Caregivers: A Re-analysis†Gerontologist 31(1):9-14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/31.1.9

Zarit, S.H., Reever, K.E. and Bach-Peterson, J. (1980). “Relatives of the Impaired Elderly: Correlates of Feelings of Burden†Gerontologist 20(6):649-655. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/20.6.649




How to Cite

Ananias, Janetta, Herman Strydom, and Suria Ellis. 2015. “A SUPPORT GROUP PROGRAMME WITH INFORMAL CAREGIVERS TO PREVENT ELDER ABUSE”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 27 (2):220-45. https://doi.org/10.25159/2415-5829/363.



Received 2015-08-01
Accepted 2015-08-01
Published 2015-08-01