Good food and advice for seniors

Bluegum Seniors Clubs chairperson, Francis van der Heever, addresses the guests.

A total of 300 pensioners filled the Bonteheuwel civic centre on Wednesday October 13, to listen to inspirational talks, be entertained and enjoy a scrumptious brunch.

Bluegum Seniors’ Club’s chairperson Francis van der Heever said the coffee morning was all about getting the seniors together, especially those who sit with a mountain of problems at home. “We want them to know that there are people who care. They must come out. Don’t sit at home, where grandchildren give you troubles. Come and enjoy some time out,” Ms Van Der Heever said.

The club meets every Tuesday and Thursday at the Bluegum community centre, where the seniors sew, knit, do ballroom dance and enjoy a nice meal. “They don’t have to be bored at home. We have lots of activities,” Ms Van Der Heever added.

Bonteheuwel resident Zuleiga Bartlett reminded the seniors that in order for them to care for their grandchildren, they need to take care of themselves first. “Self-care is very important. We must make time for ourselves. We must treat ourselves. You cannot spend all your pension money on your family, you must keep something to treat yourself. There are so many seniors clubs in the area that you can join, and most of it is only for half a day. So there’s really no excuse not to join,” Ms Bartlett said.

Pastor Audrey Ngamlana from the AME church in Bonteheuwel, delivered an inspiring talk about caring for seniors.

“Just like my child is your child, we should also care for our seniors with the same principle. You need to be loved and cared for. We must nurture our seniors, and not abuse them. My plea is also that we stop sweeping abuse under the carpet. Many of our seniors don’t want people to know that they are being abused by their own families.

“It’s a privilege to reach the age you have. God has blessed you. You don’t have to suffer from low self-esteem. Being a senior person is not a disease. Sometimes our children treat us like ‘vloerlappe’, and are only nice to us when it is SASSA (grant pay-out day). Why do we have old aged homes? Are we not supposed to look after our family? The Bible says we must honour our parents and will be blessed with a long life. I just want you to know that you are special to me,” Ms Ngamlana said.

In between the serious talks, the seniors were also entertained with some ballroom dancing by their peers. Master of ceremonies, Timothy Amos, also had the crowd in stitches with his jokes. Ms Van Der Heever said most of the snacks and beverages served to their guests, had been donated by the members. However, some local businesses also made donations towards the event.