• Grandparenthood;
  • orphan care;
  • HIV and AIDS;
  • Botswana



The purpose of the study was to identify the experiences of the grandparents who were taking care of orphan grandchildren in Botswana.


A descriptive qualitative design was used to interview 12 grandmothers 60 years and older in a semi-urban village in Botswana. Content analysis was used to analyze the data.


The ages of the grandmothers interviewed ranged from 60 to 80 years, while the number of orphans under their care ranged from 1 to 9 years. The themes that emerged included context of caregiving, acceptance of the caregiver role, consequences of caregiving, social support, and coping strategies. Although they accepted the caregiving role and appreciated the government assistance, it was fraught with difficulties. They reported very limited or no support from the extended family, and their health concerns compromised their financial circumstances.


Although the grandmothers accepted this role, it was described as difficult, and had profound consequences for them. Recommendations include comprehensive support for grandmothers and orphans that include psychological support and health promotion.

Clinical Relevance

Grandparents are an important support system of orphans in Botswana since there are very few orphanages. In order to support grandparents in this role, community health nurses need to provide comprehensive health promotion for grandmothers caring for orphans that includes support groups and multidisciplinary care teams to ensure that the grandmothers’ health is not neglected. Nurse educators should also include care of grandmothers caring for orphans in their curricula.