Effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the elderly that own small businesses in Kanyanya Village
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The purpose of this study was to understand the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the elderly people whose source of livelihood is operation of small/informal businesses. The study pursued the following objectives: to identify the effect of the pandemic on access to markets by the elderly; to identify the effect of the pandemic on the health needs of the elderly; to assess the risks brought about by COVID-19 on small businesses owned by the elderly; and to identify the coping mechanisms used by the elderly in sustaining their livelihoods during the pandemic. The study was purely qualitative in nature with a relatively small sample size of ten respondents. In depth interview guides were used to collect data from the elderly which were analysed using thematic analysis. The study findings show that poverty, limited supply of goods and services due to closure of transport means, income and nutrition gaps and difficulty in accessing health care facilities, were some of the effects of the pandemic on the elderly. The study further indicates that depression, vulnerability and neglect, social and economic issues were some of the risks brought about by the pandemic. The respondents used face masks, soliciting loans from financial institutions as coping mechanisms amidst the pandemic induced life style. Finally the study concluded by recommending the need for the initiation of means tested support to boost the incomes of those with the least resources especially the elderly population whose incomes were greatly affected by the pandemic.