Health initiative for the elderly

2019-04-16 06:00
Elderly people during the health awareness day in Gatesville.

Elderly people during the health awareness day in Gatesville.

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Elderly people from Gatesville and the surrounding communities were empowered during a health awareness event organised by the Gatesville Neighbourhood Watch at Rylands Civic Centre on Wednesday 3 April.

The 70 elders were informed about first aid, identifying symptoms for different illnesses and how to seek health-related help.

The initiative was in partnership with NHW, the Gatesville Seniors Club and a local health facility, Gatesville Melomed Paramedics who did demonstrations.

Members of the senior clubs are from the area, Duinefontein, Pooke se Bos and other communities.

The chairperson of the NHW, Fowzia Veerasamy, says the elderly people were “quite amazed” and interactive throughout the programme.

“You could see they needed the platform where they could confidently ask questions and learn more,” says Veerasamy.

She says the NHW runs a number of outreach programmes and they have discovered that elderly people are the most reliable in the community. They can be the eyes and ears and share information among each other. “We wanted to reach out and empower them to show that we care, knowing that the few that attended the session will spread the word to others. You know they are at a stage where they only talk about things that affect them and can improve their lives. They like sharing the little they know to help others.”

Veerasamy says these elders have worked for most of their lives and are now resting and eager to make most of their pension time, making sure they live longer.

She applauded the Seniors Club for the good work it does and encouraged senior citizens in the neighbouring areas to join senior clubs to have a platform to freely express themselves with people that understand their language.

Veerasamy says the NHW facilitates the club’s programmes and occasionally, organise outdoor activities for them at minimal expense. The NHW also facilitate other programmes such as the Gatesville Youth Club, Fitness Exercise programme and Women Forum. She says they rely on donations to run these programmes.

She says creating a safe environment is not just about fighting crime but getting to know people and working closely with them, knowing they have safe spaces to engage with and empower each other.


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