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Keywords:

  • conflict elder abuse;
  • elder neglect;
  • elderly;
  • street people

Many studies have been conducted on the elderly, but none has ever paid particular attention to the increasing rate of destitution in the rural communities, where the elderly serve as agents for sustenance and transmission of culture. This study is descriptive in nature and has adopted qualitative perspective in order to identify and examine the factors that have contributed to the state of elderly in destitution in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. It has also examined the feelings and reactions of the subjects of the study and has documented how their lifestyles affect their health status. Sixteen elderly people in destitution were traced and interviewed in Ile-Ife community. At each location, where an elderly in destitution was located, at least an elderly chief and a resident were located for interview. Data collected were analysed using Textbase Beta package for qualitative analysis. The study found that communal feud, violence and conflicts were factors that created unhappiness for the elderly, and the lack of adequate support from the immediate households consequently led to their homelessness. The study documented that the elderly in destitution lack good hygiene and nutrition, and equally suffer self-neglect and mental confusion. The study concludes that peaceful coexistence, communal security, and familial care and support are important factors that promote happiness and successful ageing. It also maintains that focused health education is highly essential for the households and caregivers of the elderly in rural community.