Aged urged to be more outspoken

2015-10-06 06:00
Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development, addressed a group of 400 elderly people at the Rylands civic centre last week to celebrate the International Day for Older People. 
PHOTO: 
Earl Haupt

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development, addressed a group of 400 elderly people at the Rylands civic centre last week to celebrate the International Day for Older People. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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Seniors from around the city gathered at the Rylands civic centre on Thursday last week to take part in a community initiative to celebrate the International Day for Older Persons.

The event was organised by the City of Cape Town’s social development and early childhood development department, which teamed up with Age in Action.

Over 400 senior citizens gathered to find out about ways to improve their quality of life in their later years.

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development, said that the event was aimed at promoting healthy living and active ageing whilst also raising awareness about the host of services the City offers its seniors.

“As part of the social and early childhood development directorate, we raise awareness among our seniors about healthy living and healthy choices at their age,” she said.

“We raise awareness by having these events where we do testing. We make sure that we have home affairs there and we normally have Sassa at our events as well. This is really a gathering where we can talk to our seniors and find out what else is wrong, so we create these platforms in different areas where our seniors can come out and talk to us, but at the same time we can give them information about our home-based care opportunities, about what the City is offering so that they don’t sit with these issues and that there is somebody that they can be referred to.”

One of the attendees, Jasmien Sauls (65), said she enjoyed the morning’s proceedings and commended the staff on their friendliness, while another attendee, Marjorie Fassie (67), shared her joy at being out of the house. She said the occasion was a real outing for her.

Ebrahim Khan (68) said that the presentation delivered by Little was very informative, especially pertaining to the indigent grant.

Ismail Osman (76) was excited at the prospect of volunteering his time and knowledge to nearby schools in the Ath­lone area to help children to hone their literacy and numeracy skills. He was also pleasantly surprised by what the City had planned for them as a group.

Little said that despite the City’s efforts, abuse towards the elderly was becoming far too frequent.

“The sad part is that families are aware of it. We are really appealing to family members to get involved. We have received complaints about our seniors, especially during this period with the pension being paid out; we see that our seniors are abused a little bit more than usual. It’s not always the hitting and the beating, but in the manner in which they are treated.”

She also pointed out that the programmes were geared towards trying to help seniors speak out more about their problems and that it was now socially acceptable for them to ask for help.

“Our seniors don’t like talking about it. They come from that era where they don’t share their problems, so we try and create that platform where we tell them that it is okay to let us know so that we can visit.

“We have visited a few homes where we have spoken to the family members, where we have interacted and got the police and the neighbourhood watch involved and it stopped, because somebody was watching. That is all that we need to do, it is really to let the people know that the seniors are not out there on their own, they are not living in isolation and that there is somebody who cares for them.”


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