As we celebrate International Day for Older Persons, let’s use this opportunity to reflect on the value our seniors add to our province with their knowledge and experience, in their roles as volunteers in their communities, active participants in the economy, and as caregivers within families.
A key focus during the last 18 months has been the wellbeing and dignity of our elderly citizens, some of whom are vulnerable and fall victim to abuse.
During the last financial year, we received reports from our funded NPO partners of 72 cases of elder abuse. The number of cases reported between April and June this year, is 38.
“The most common types of abuse reported are financial and physical. In almost all of these instances the perpetrators are either related or well known to the older person. As a society that values senior citizens, we cannot allow this to continue. Instead, we should all strive to uphold the rights of older persons,” says Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.
In doing its part, the Western Cape Department of Social Development will continue to support the most vulnerable older persons through its services.
While Covid-19 protocols have been implemented in the last 18 months, and we’ve had to adjust how we deliver services, we will continue to provide older persons with access to funded community-based service centres, which offer seniors to spaces where they can engage with their peers, share their experiences, participate in educational and recreational activities, and can access social work services.
The Department funds 116 old age homes across the province. The registration drive for old age homes continues, so that residents are able to receive the quality of services as envisioned in the Older Person's Act.
“To the more than 600 000 senior citizens in the Western Cape, we recognise and honour the invaluable contributions you have made in shaping our lives, and the role you continue to play in creating resilient families and communities,” says Fernandez.
To report elder abuse, contact your nearest local office or call 0800 220 150, the South African Police Services, the South African Social Security Agency, or the SA Human Rights Commisison.