Elderly care is a human right

AS we celebrate the month of

Human Rights, many people in South Africa are celebrating this month by conducting awareness campaigns, giving educational talks on various rights and holding peaceful demonstrations.

According to Chapter two of the Constitution of South Africa which contains the Bill of Rights, a human rights charter that protects the civil, political and socioeconomic rights of all people in South Africa.

The rights in the bill apply to all law, including common law, and bind all branches of the government, including the national executive, Parliament, the judiciary, provincial governments and municipal councils. Fever reporter Nosipho Mkhize chose to focus on the rights of the elderly, and spoke to CEO of The Association for the Aged (Tafta), Femada Shamam.

She said that to bring awareness to elder rights issues, Tafta will host an Elder Rights Awareness Walk in central Durban on June 14, followed by a dialogue session on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, the day set aside by the United Nations internationally to discuss the rights of elders.

“Elder abuse is a global social issue and a very real one in South Africa. We hope the dialogue sessions we host on this day will provide the necessary stakeholders with the impetus required to give elder rights the attention it so rightly requires,” said Shamam.

Tafta is urging the South African government to deliver on the provisions set out in the Older Person’s Act through the delivery of supportive services that enable elders to continue living in their own homes.

She said the aged care association, which is home to nearly 2 000 elders in Tafta homes in Durban, says the demand for care services by the ageing population remains a concern for the association.

“Throughout Tafta’s 60-year history, we have reached out to those members of the community within our areas of operation in need of our services through outreach programmes such as Meals on Wheels and Home Based Care.

We realise the growing need in communities as we attempt to extend our footprint into areas we haven’t been able to reach in the past and we are working closely with the government and other key stakeholders to explore funding possibilities to bring elder care into more communities seeking out these needs.”

Shamam added that recent research indicates that in the next 10 years, the number of people over age 60 will surpass one billion, making the case for governments, advocacy groups and non-profit organisations to come together to seek out workable solutions to care for the aged within the community, and more significantly, in their homes, for as long as possible.

“As an elder care organisation, we’re aware of the challenges these arrangements come with, like the very real threat of elder abuse stemming from frustrations associated with caring for elders.

But, we believe that with the proper support systems, it is possible to have an elder in the home environment who is well-cared for, with little or no risk to themselves and other members of the home.”

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