Elderly residents were celebrated in Seawinds on Tuesday 26 November at an annual event hosted by Gerry Gordon, councillor for ward 67. Despite the festive atmosphere, the occurrence of elder abuse in the greater Retreat area was addressed. Guests were handpicked from informal settlements in Hillview, Overcome Heights and Village Heights as well as from seniors’ clubs in Pelican Park, Zeekoevlei and Seawinds. They were entertained with live music and treated to drinks and eats.With the event falling within the 16 Days of Activism, Gordon said seniors should not keep quiet about the abuse.“I have very high regard for the seniors because they are the most experienced people on this Earth. 16 Days of Activism against women and children – the abuse that happens – you are not immune or excluded from it,” she said. “I do know that many of you suffer abuse in your own homes. The fact that someone screams at you – that’s abuse. Be the example and put your foot down.”Residents confirmed that elderly abuse happens daily. “You have sons shouting, screaming and abusing their parents for money, for drugs,” said one resident. She said the problem in Seawinds is the lack of facilities and activities to keep people from using drugs.Speaking from personal experience, she told People’s Post how she was forced to have her children jailed to rehabilitate them.Another resident added the established rehabilitation centres do not have active support systems or groups in their communities. This presents a problem for addicts because they do not usually have the money to travel to seek support. “We can’t give them taxi money – they’ll take it straight to buy drugs,” she said.Another resident said the extent of the abuse experienced by elders ranges from verbal to physical and even sexual.Seawinds residents are calling on the City to take note of their needs for parks with security guards, sports fields and programmes to empower the youth before they become just another crime statistic.