Senior citizens get special treatment

Some 75 elderly residents were treated like the champions they are, last week, in a celebration organised by partners Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (Noah) and the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

The celebration marked International Day of Older Persons and saw the senior citizens being treated to a three-course meal and an afternoon of entertainment.

International Day of Older Persons is mandated by the United Nations and is celebrated each year on 1 October.

“The CTICC values and appreciates all South Africans and is committed to enhancing the lives of the community in Cape Town, especially the elders of our city,” the CTICC says in a statement.

Welcoming the elders of Noah, CTICC chief executive, Julie-May Ellingson, referred to the Xhosa proverb Indlela ibuzwa kwabaphambili, which translates to seeking advice from those who have already gained the experience.

“Who better to advise us than our elders? In this fast-paced world of the internet and smartphones, we often turn by default to our computers and the worldwide web for advice.

“But as a wise man once said: ‘The best classroom is at the feet of an elderly person’. We must never forget that we have great vaults of knowledge in our own communities, knowledge gained not at a keyboard but from living, finding solutions to life’s challenges and using the accumulated wisdom of generations to solve problems specific to our environment, our people and our country,” said Ellingson.

Noah’s mission is to help as many social pensioners as possible live independent and dignified lives within their own communities­.

The organisation offers seniors 11 safe communal houses for more than 100 residents; an assisted living home for less independent residents; two primary health care clinics offering services including observations, medication distribution, advice, and referrals for physiotherapy, podiatry, dementia and therapeutic massage to over 440 members; as well as two community centres working to assist with income generation, social support, wellness support, access to information and referrals to 150 members­.

“Social pensioners are the backbone of our society and a day to celebrate their enormous contribution past, present and future is vital. We were touched that a large corporate like the CTICC had taken the care and thought to honour our members in this way.

“We feel extremely grateful for this wonderful gesture. The CTICC has had an extremely respectful and collegial relationship with Noah and this event is evidence of that,” said Jane Mills, social enterprises development manager at Noah.

Mills went on to emphasise the important role corporate entities can play in raising awareness of the value of older persons and their contributions to society: “Their customers, suppliers and staff are potential audiences to whom a positive message about older persons can be broadcast – whether it is an event, a CSI contribution or a staff volunteer initiative.”

Ellingson concluded her welcome with a tribute addressed to the Noah elders, representing all South African elders: “I see you. I see your wisdom. I see the education, care and nurturing you have provided to the generations that have followed yours. Thank you. I am because you are: Umntu ngumtu ngabantu.”

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