Seniors call on supermarkets to support with healthy eating

The Rylands Seniors Club.

The Rylands Seniors’ Club is appealing to supermarkets to donate healthy food for their members who struggle to survive on just their pension grants.

Project manager of the club, Fowzia Veerasamy, said it was established in February last year to keep the elderly busy and entertained.

She said the 30 seniors, with the youngest being 60 and the oldest aged 88, come from areas such as Belgravia, Heideveld, Greenhaven, Parktown, Bridgetown, Primrose Park, Rylands and Gatesville.

The seniors meet every Wednesday at the Rylands civic centre, from 10am to 1pm.

They are entertained, given a meal, taken through some exercises, addressed by various speakers including the police, doctors, the Western Cape Department of Social Development and Rape Crises, and also make arts and crafts and enjoy outings.

Ms Veerasamy said the seniors thoroughly enjoyed getting out of the house and just unwinding. “First they started walking with us and then we started meeting up regularly and now they spend more time together and it gives them an opportunity talk about things. Some of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have been abused.”

She said the club provided recreation and upliftment for the elderly. “Without the help of the library, the ward councillor Aslam Cassiem, and the Athlone booking office, this would not be possible. The seniors really enjoy it and they are quite active; they don’t want to just sit and talk. They tell me where they want to go next on an outing and I try to make it happen. We want to show them that there is more to life than household problems.”

Ms Veerasamy said seniors who who were being abused by their family members were helped thanks to intervention by the Department of Social Development. “They never had a voice and this is a platform for them to relax, have fun, and act out all that frustration, kick a ball, and exercise. On the outings we take the youth with so that they can learn how to look after the elderly because many of them have lost their manners. Through this (the youth) have learnt to say please and thank you” she said.

Ms Veerasamy has appealed to supermarkets to donate healthy food for the elderly so that their pension grant can stretch a bit further.

She said after paying utility bills, they hardly have money left and struggle for the next three weeks of the month. “We know they are sorted for that week that they get SASSA but after that they have nothing. Some of them just take tablets with water because they have nothing to eat. Life is tough for them, they have been battling since they were younger and now at their old age they are still battling. We need affordable and healthy donations for our seniors especially things for breakfast such as fruit, bread or juice,” she said. To join the club or for more information contact Fowzia Veerasamy on 061 774 6547.