AGE-in-Action: MPUMALANGA

Mpumalanga is situated in the north of South Africa, bordering on Mozambique and Swaziland. It has an estimated 98 000 persons over the age of 66 of whom approximately 89 788 [70%] are black. There are 21 old age homes, all subsidised and only 2 cater for blacks. While services for white pensioners are adequate, there are 60 service centres from where basic services can be run. 30% of black elderly people living at home require home support and 40% require home care services.

STRUCTURE

There are three regions in the province namely, Nkangala, Gert sibande and Ehlanzeni (lowveld) which are all serviced by the provincial director, auxiliary worker, homebase care co-ordinator, secretary and volunteers.

PROBLEMS

Poverty and unemployment, especially amongst women, is increasing in Mpumalanga. Poverty manifests itself in various ways:

Poverty affects both men and women, but because of gender divisions of labour and women's responsibilities for the household's welfare, women in Mpumalanga bear a greater burden. They have to manage their household needs under conditions of increasing scarcity. 60% of women in the province are not working. In the rural areas, they spend hours of their time and labour collecting wood and carrying water.

SERVICES FOR THE AGED

Capacity Building

Economic empowerment.

Home Base Care/Lending Depots

This programme ensures that frail older persons, HIV/Aids infected people and orphans under the care of older persons receive efficient community care and the beneficiaries remain in their communities as much as they can.
Care givers who are mostly volunteers, receive skills and knowledge on handling chronic and frail older persons.
The establishment of lending depots, ensures that families have necessary equipment aids to lighten the burden of caring for the frail loved ones.

Elderly Abuse

  bblue.gif (1016 bytes)    To combat the growing number of elderly abuse, a new Careline was established in 2005 to assist older persons on issues around
           accommodation/housing,  social grants, health issues, counseling and para-legal services including information on support groups.
           It appeared that the majority of older persons countrywide are not aware of the services rendered to them; therefore a line of this
           nature is very important.

Advocacy and Lobbying

To lobby and advocate for the rights of older persons at provincial level.
To advocate for older persons on pay points facilities to be improved and be accessible to all senior citizens.
To ensure that the development of service infrastructure is extended to the disadvantaged and underdeveloped communities.

Community Development

To establish poverty alleviation projects for older persons to address the root causes of hunger and HIV/Aids with the effort to sustain their low income.
To establish senior centers to areas where there are no service for older persons.