Welfare of elderly at heart of state policy

Fred Mokoka

Fred Mokoka

The Department of Social Development is responsible for the elderly in South Africa, especially older people who live below the breadline.

And though government policy is to ensure that the elderly stay in their communities for as long as possible, it also provides for those who cannot live independent lives at home.

For this reason there are 93 residential facilities for older people, 125 service centres and lunch clubs and the provision of community-based services that support older people have been increased.

The allocation for the transfers to non-governmental organisations providing residential facilities, lunch clubs and service centres is R236million for the 2008-09 financial year.

In 2008-2009 the department will address the rehabilitation and upgrading of old age homes in the townships.

It plans to build six residential facilities to cater for the aged who require full residential or frail care facilities.

The allocation for the construction of old age homes is R20million for the 2008-09 financial year.

In addition 22 day care centres for older people in previously disadvantaged areas will be constructed.

They will provide elderly citizens with care and social support during the day before they return to their homes and families in the evening.

The allocation for the construction of day care centres for older people is R31million for the 2008-09 financial year.

Older people are an integral part of society.

The empowerment of older people means assisting them to continue living meaningful lives in a society that recognises them as important sources of enrichment and expertise. Community support remains important.

Encouraging independent living and creating an enabling and supportive environment that ensures that both frail and mobile older people receive services that respond to their needs remains the cornerstones of government policy.

Services for older people are aimed at maintaining the integrity of South Africa's elders.