About 600 senior citizens attended the launch of an expanded health service for older persons, at the Hanover Park civic centre last Thursday.
They were treated to lunch and made aware of the services available to them by the City of Cape Town.
The service includes fast-tracking and prioritising older people at all health facilities; free annual health screening for TB, HIV, diabetes and hypertension; cancer screening at regular intervals; facilitation of referrals to other allied health professionals as well as home- and community-based service providers; regular visits by health promotion teams to old-age homes; regular visits by environmental health staff to old-age homes to check for compliance; and health education on healthy living, including nutrition, and encouraging active participation in senior citizens forums.
The new health screening services are available across City clinics for people aged 65 and older.
JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services, said the elderly play an important role in the community and it was important for them to stay active so that they remain fit and healthy.
“You have reached this age by being responsible and by taking care of yourself,” he said.
He said that while parents are at work, grandparents take up the role of looking after the children.
“There is great value in having multiple generations in one home,” he said.
He encouraged the elderly to remain active. “Health of the body, mind, and emotional well being is important,” said Mr Smith.
He said that the City currently has 205 home-based care nurses who will assist the elderly with the new health services.
Ward 47 councillor Antonio van de Rheede said the event was created to celebrate the elderly. He referred to them as “the salt of the earth”.
He said that a community without the elderly is meaningless.
“When you reach the age of 60 quality of life becomes important. Join senior clubs, it is important as it makes a big change. It give syou a break from the challenges at home. It makes you active, you go out with the clubs, and it exposes you to a lot of things,” he said.
“There’s a saying that goes if a senior person dies, a library closes down. If you sit in your home and don’t communicate with others we will lose important information,” he said.
He also advised the seniors to get to know the different organisations in the area and get involved with them.
“The negative things that people say about Hanover Park is not true. It is just a few people that make it ugly. We need to celebrate the negative and the positive,” he said.