Honouring the elderly in Table View

Remax estate agent Caron Leslie hands over a gift to Dementia SA representative Bobby Jutzen.

Table View police held a day of entertainment at Church on the Rise for senior citizens on Thursday October 27.

It was their way of marking International Day of Older Persons on Saturday October 1.

The seniors were spoilt with gifts and words of thanks. Police officers also advised them on how to stay safe.

“We are all critical to each other, you being leaders of the past and present can now sit back and relax,” Department of Social Development official Soraya Abrahams told the seniors.

“You are the most important, not only today, but every day. You have gained wisdom of the years and we want to acknowledge you and praise you.”

Ms Abrahams said that many of the elderly grew increasingly vulnerable as society changed and technology became more complex. Seniors often struggled with online banking and ATM machines.

“From the social development side, we have after-hours services, which is similar to child protection, because the elderly are just as vulnerable. You can tell us what is concerning you. If your children do not treat you well physically or emotionally, you can speak to us. It may be a challenge for you to deal with on your own,” said Ms Abrahams.

At a City of Cape Town International Day of Older Persons celebration on Wednesday October 12, mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development, Suzette Little, said abuse and neglect of the elderly were not new. Many were considered a burden and isolated from society.

“This in spite of the fact that older persons make up a sizeable portion of the world’s population – a portion set to double by 2025, particularly in developing countries like ours. We need to change the way we view and treat our elders,” she said.

“Ageing is inevitable and it’s a path that we all have to walk. So I challenge everyone to consider how they treat older persons in their lives and how they’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot,” said Ms Little.

Bobby Jutzen from Dementia SA spoke at Church on the Rise about the growing vulnerability that accompanies dementia.

“Alzheimer’s is the most common form, but there are 100 other kinds of dementia. It affects your finances and when you have an injury of the brain you have to make out a new will,” he said.

“You could become incontinent, and nappies for elderly are R200 a pack, which could add up to R600 a month, affecting your Sassa pension.”

Dementia’s warning signs can include memory loss; difficulty with familiar tasks; having a problem with language; disorientation; poor judgement and personality changes. “Dementia is not part of getting old. It is a disease that causes you to forget,” said Mr Jutzen. “Imagine all the steps it takes to make a cup of tea; you do it automatically. Imagine you wake up and forget steps. Its difficult and it affects the family.”

Contact Dementia SA at 021 421 0077/78 or 021 418 5888.