Ageing with a Disability: Care Arrangements and Support Needs in Contemporary Ghana

  • Augustina Naami Department of Social Work, University of Ghana
  • Abigail Adubea Mills Department of Social Work, University of Ghana



The population of older people is increasing globally, and it is expected that in Africa, the population of older persons would increase from 69 million in 2017 to 226 million by 2050. The United Nations estimates that over 46 per cent of older persons have disabilities, the majority of whom experience moderate to severe disability. Given the increasing trends of older people and the vulnerability of older people to a disability, the population of persons with disabilities could increase. Ghana is yet to develop holistic measures that could adequately address the needs of both persons with disabilities and older people as distinct groups, and uniquely for older persons with disabilities. For example, although the Persons with Disability Act was passed in 2006, a legislative instrument has not yet been developed to operationalize the Act, nor has the Act been harmonized to align with international laws. Persons with disabilities in Ghana face many barriers to full and equal participation in society, including stigma, discrimination, physical and information barriers. On the part of older persons, although there is the National Ageing Policy (2010), more work is required to enforce its implementation to give older persons in Ghana a better quality of life. Undoubtedly, age-related challenges could adversely worsen the plight of older persons with disabilities. Guided by the theory of intersectionality, the life-course theory of ageing, and the social model of disability, content analysis and personal conversations, this paper explores the vulnerabilities and needs of older persons with disabilities in Ghana and provides recommendations to address their unmet needs.