Some of the senior citizens, photographed during the event.
The MEC for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, said the government would soon launch the Older Persons Parliament to deal with issues affecting senior citizens. She was addressing hundreds of senior citizens during the International Day for Older Persons at the new Nancefield Community hall on Sunday.
Ramathuba said the Older Persons Parliament should be able to resolve challenges facing senior citizens and come up with recommendations for community projects that would benefit them. “Senior citizens are experienced in life. They have seen everything that we usually read in books. The Older Persons Parliament should engage young people and warn them against the dangers of drugs, alcohol abuse and other social ills of life.”
She also instructed health workers to take good care of the elderly. “We have heard of situations where our elders are made to queue for long times in hospitals before they are assisted. We want to see senior citizens having their dedicated queues, so that they can be assisted as speedily as possible.”
She said that it was important for senior citizens to take care of themselves and not depend on others. “I had a grandparent who passed on at the age of 104. The reason for the long life is because of healthy lifestyle. We encourage you to eat healthy food, do exercise and participate in various community projects. We also encourage young people to go and look for jobs, instead of depending on the social grants for the elders. Any abuse for the elders should immediately be reported to the community leaders or law enforcement agencies.”
Pastor Joseph Salani, who represented the Limpopo Older Persons Forum, said that they were very pleased to celebrate the day with their government leaders. “This clearly displays that the government really takes care of us. We will all agree that elders are the backbones of each prospering nation because they have the knowledge and wisdom to take society forward.”
Salani welcomed the launch of the Older Persons Parliament by saying that it would give a platform for senior citizens to engage and resolve issues of interest to them.