Langeberg Municipality recently held its annual Senior Citizens Special day program in both Montagu (23 October) and Bonnievale (6 November), where speakers shed light on the importance of leading a healthy life-style through exercise, securing yourself and your money when collecting pension and birth registration protocol.
The program was hosted in partnership with the Department of Health, Department of Home Affairs, South African Police Service (SAPS), South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Department of Social Services.
Senior citizens, residing from farming areas outside of Montagu and Bonnievale, were invited to attend the program. These people are often isolated from the community (town centre) and have a difficult time accessing general government services.
Madelain van der Berg, Social Development Officer at Langeberg Municipality, mentioned that senior citizens living in farming communities several kilometres outside of the towns struggle to get access to basic services offered.
“These older persons are generally never served. They have limited access to certain services. We want to show our appreciation for them by bringing them together and explaining the various services they can make use of. We want to equip them with the knowledge to prevent them from being abused and being the victims of crime. Most of all we just want to make them feel extra special,” said Van der Berg.
About 50 senior citizens attended Montagu’s program whilst 35 gathered at Bonnievale’s Happy Valley Community Hall and were welcomed by Langeberg Municipality’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Diana Gagiano. Hereafter representatives from SAPS, SASSA, Home Affairs and Social Services provided valuable information regarding the services they provide and how the attendees could benefit from it.
Representatives from SAPS spoke about alcohol abuse, a serious issue experienced on farms. This is also the core trigger of criminal activity in the area. They gave examples of how senior citizens can assist the police in lowering the crime rate in the rural areas. Safety tips involving the use of an ATM machine, going into town to shop or when collecting their pension, were also shared.
A representative from SASSA provided detailed information regarding the services and grant allowances available to the senior citizens. It was also emphasized that citizens must keep their Identity documents, SASSA cards and pay-out slips safe. They should not give it to any other entity.
Jongi Mfutwana, represented the Home Affairs office by listing the services offered at the Thusong Centre in Robertson, from free ID card applications for senior citizens to late birth certificate procedures and costs.
A representative from Social services, A Van der Merwe, encouraged the attendees to be as active as possible to maintain a good bill of health. She had everyone on their feet doing easy stretching and relaxation exercises.
Everyone had the opportunity to get a free blood pressure and glucose level test done by Bram Care Home Based Care (Montagu) and Hospice (Bonnievale) after which a healthy lunch was served.