In commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, seniors gathered at Build a Better Society (Babs) in Kewtown, to learn more about the kinds of abuses and where they can get help, if they should need it.
This annual United Nations (UN) observance day is held on June 15, but the members of seniors’ clubs met on Thursday June 14. They exercised, had their health checked, and listened to various speakers addressing them on elderly abuse.
The event was a collaboration between Age-in-Action, Babs, and Dr Abdurahman Community Health Centre, and it was co-ordinated by Mishkha Adam, Gary Abrahams and Faeza Abrahams, who are all fourth-year social work students at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).
“Today all the clubs connect with other organisations to raise their voices and empower them. Seniors must be respected and their dignity must be protected. They need to be honoured and the ones who are here need to give input to those who cannot be here. We want to empower the elderly to become a support structure for one another,” said Age-in-Action’s Elma Kloppers.
When asked if abuse against seniors is still prevalent, Ms Kloppers added: “Financial, emotional, physical and psychological abuse are on the increase. That is why programmes such as this is so important. We found that majority of households are being run by seniors who only depend on their pension, and that a lot of the financial abuse, for example, is because of their children or grandchildren’s drug abuse and unemployment.”
Captain Ian Bennett from Manenberg SAPS reminded the seniors that the police cannot help them if they do not speak up.
“Seniors are our gems in the community, and you have important stories to tell. We can tell you what numbers to dial if you ever find yourself in need of it, but if you do not pick up that phone, we will not be able to help you. How sad it is that seniors pray that God takes them away because they feel they are in their children’s way. I encourage you today to stand up and change your situation,” Captain Bennett said.
Ward 49 councillor, Rashid Adams, and representatives from the Department of Social Development and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) were also present to assist the seniors with any of their concerns.