Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau has promised that some of the decisions and resolutions taken at the World Congress on Healthy Ageing over the weekend would, where appropriate, be considered for implementation for the benefit of the city’s senior citizens.
Officially opening the sixth edition of the congress – the first of its kind on African soil – at the Sandton Convention Centre on Friday, Mayor Tau said the elderly and their welfare were important considerations for the City, along with several other community-based programmes already in place to improve the quality of life of those in their twilight years.
“It has been agreed during discussions with my colleagues in the provincial and national government that we need to follow up on this conference with a discussion on how we are able to take the advice and lessons learned and implement them in our programmes.
“For our senior citizens, who have made massive socioeconomic contributions to our country to enjoy their sunset years, it is important for us to continue to provide supportive and inclusive care. I will personally ensure that during the next mayoral committee meeting, feedback on these lessons and their planned implementation is delivered,” said Mayor Tau.
The City runs seven elderly daycare centres and 33 retirement villages, where several social and health programmes are implemented. It also manages a bereavement support initiative for the elderly and provides assistance in accessing grants and social packages, assistance in tackling the abuse of the elderly, and the provision of food security.
“In support of the Gauteng Provincial Government’s pharmaceutical outreach programme, the City’s Health Department is piloting a pharmaceutical supplies outreach programme to old age homes and retirement villages as a means to improve access to healthcare.
“A total of 1 504 scripts were delivered to elderly citizens during the 2013-2014 financial year, helping to build a supportive city, one that helps our elderly live dignified lives,” the Mayor said.
Jeanette Hunter, the Deputy Director of the Department of Health, said her department would also implement “all relevant findings from the WCHA that fall within our scope”.
The four-day lekgotla, which ended on Sunday August 2, investigated and discussed healthy ageing issues. It was attended by more than 1 500 delegates and addressed by 94 national and international speakers and specialists under the theme: “Bridging the Ageing Divide.”
Mayor Tau also presented two centenarians with certificates from the Healthy Ageing Society of Africa in celebration of their remarkable milestones. Erik Richardson, 103, and Florina Mofokeng, 105, received an overwhelming applause when Mayor Tau handed them the certificates.
“I’m grateful for being acknowledged by the Mayor and the Healthy Ageing Society of Africa. My secret to a long life is to eat well, get enough rest and have a positive attitude,” said Mofokeng.
The congress was supported by Alzheimer’s SA, Dementia SA, South African Society of Psychiatrists, South African Neurological Rehabilitation Association and the Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society.
City hosts congress on healthy ageing