South Africa: According to Statistics South Africa’s 2022 mid-year estimates, the population of older persons, those aged 60 years and above, especially older women, is growing thanks to the improved life expectancy.
From 7.6% in 2002 to 9.1 % in 2020, it is estimated that the population of older persons will be over 7 million by 2030.
Key amongst others, this longevity can be attributed to improved access to health care, education, water and sanitation and healthy lifestyle choices.
Guided by the Older Persons Act (Act 13 of 2006) and the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing, the Department of Social Development, in partnership with the Departments of Health, Sports and Recreation, and the South African Older Persons Forum introduced the Active Ageing Programme to transform the ageing experience and empower senior citizens to stay active and engaged so that they can continue to enjoy healthy and purposeful lives.
Making its return after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Active Ageing Programme will be held from 5-7 December in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Province, under the theme: “Contribution and Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World”.
The three-day programme will bring together 1,500 older persons across the country under the auspices of the South African Older Persons Forum to focus on matters affecting them, such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Taking place within the context of the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, the programme will focus on the abuse and exploitation of older persons, with the view to strengthen caring families and communities in which older persons can age gracefully.
Despite elder abuse being such a widespread concern, it does not dominate our national discourse in the way that it should until recently when the issue strongly came to the fore during the recent 2nd Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.
The programme will commence with the National Older Persons Dialogue, which will culminate into the National Golden Games in which older persons will participate in various sporting activities, including soccer for men and women, athletics, duck walk, brisk walk, ring the stick and others.
Minister Lindiwe Zulu will be joined by Gauteng Premier, Mr Panyaza Lesufi and MEC of Social Development, Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Ms Mbali Hlophe.