Promoting healthy human relationships for older persons: A social development perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Despite the Constitutional thrust to build an inclusive society that engenders human dignity and respect for all, there is still less focus on addressing the concerns of the older persons. Owing to the colonial and apartheid policies that discriminated against African blacks, the majority of the 4.2 million older persons in South Africa live in poverty and in socially fragmented communities. Senior citizens face numerous psychosocial and economic problems that require a caring, accepting and loving environment for stress-free ageing. There is an urgent need for all community and government stakeholders to address the challenges of older persons such as boredom, loneliness and illnesses that are common in old age, through among others, the African spirit of <Emphasis Type="Italic">Ubuntu</Emphasis> and social development approaches. In this regard, social development has a frontline role to highlight the resourcefulness of older persons and to inspire intergenerational human relationships through various community-based activities. This chapter argues for the promotion of healthy human relationships among older persons through the social development approach. The former will also enable families, social workers and all stakeholders to treat senior citizens with dignity and respect. This chapter employs a social development framework in advocating healthy human relationships in the best interest of older persons in South Africa. With this lens, interventions are more likely to create healthy partnerships, link older persons to the broader society and the economy, and advocate rights-based interventions for senior citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPromoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Work and Social Development Perspectives
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783030501396
ISBN (Print)9783030501389
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2020


  • Healthy human relationships
  • Older persons
  • Social development
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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