Apart from living off meagre monthly pension grants in their twilight years, elderly people face all kinds of hardships, including dwindling social status and ill-health.
In the early 1990s research commissioned to probe the lives of the aged listed numerous social challenges that made life difficult for them - including abuse by their families and communities.
Instead of happy endings to illustrious careers, they are subjected to misery. Too often they lack the energy to resolve their bouts of misfortune, in which trust and gullibility are among their handicaps rather than strengths.
So the shoddy treatment of 200 pensioners from Gauteng, abandoned on Cape Town Station, must be condemned in the strongest terms.
The pensioners were duped into paying R1200 each for a weekend holiday in the Mother City.
Instead they were left hungry and without accommodation by the same group that scuppered a similar trip at the 11th hour last year.
Again a good Samaritan, this time the African Musicians Against HIV, came to their rescue and provided them with food, shelter and comfort.
Elderly people are pillars of our lives and deserve to be treated with love, respect and dignity.
By failing them twice, the organisers have shown their consistent uncaring attitude towards the old folk.
Shame on them.