BE THE DIFFERENCE - SUPPORT AN OLDER PERSON
ENSURING THE MOST VULNERABLE OLDER PERSONS IN OUR SOCIETY HAVE SUPPORT TO A QUALITY LIFE AND HUMAN DIGNITY
Key facts from the World Health Organization
- Between 2015 and 2050 the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%.
- By 2020, the number of older people outnumbered children younger than 5 years.
- In 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low-income and middle-income countries.
- The pace of population ageing is much faster than in the past.
- All countries face major challenges to ensure that their health and social systems can handle this demographic shift.
HOW DOES BADISA ALIGN THEIR STRATEGY FOR OLDER PERSONS WITH THE REALITIES OF THE WORLD AND ALSO SOUTH AFRICA?
The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) was approved in 2002 and is supported by the World Health Organization and the United Nations as the guideline for rendering services to older persons. Badisa’s service delivery to older persons adheres to the MIPAA guidelines and therefore emphasises the following:
- Older persons must actively participate in the community and the development thereof.
- The health and wellbeing of older persons must be promoted.
- An enabling and supporting environment must be created for older persons.
- Older persons must be protected.
Badisa has taken this into account and already in 2018 started to assess its service offering to older persons in order to realign this with the realities that the world and also South Africa will need to deal with.
This resulted in the Management Board’s approval of the Badisa 2030 Strategy for Older Persons in September 2020 and the systematic implementation thereof.
The value of this Badisa strategy was confirmed during a national workshop presented in Johannesburg at the end of February 2022. The workshop was attended by some 140 representatives of government departments and private organisations from across the country. The aim of the event was to determine the following:
- The content of a National Strategy for Older Persons
- South Africa’s focus during the Decade of Healthy Ageing, and
- How legislation should be amended to operationalise this.
The 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years were indeed challenging for the programmes aimed at older persons. The efficient management of the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic can only be attributed to the grace of our Heavenly Father and the commitment of our governing bodies and staff who simply did what was required to continue rendering services and survive financially.
The impact of Covid-19 becomes clear when comparing the number of residents at homes for older persons as on 31 March 2021 with that of the previous two financial years. During this time, there was a drop of almost 9% in bed occupancy from 3 166 residents on 31 March 2020 to 2 909 residents on 31 March 2022. This decrease can mainly be ascribed to the impact of Covid-19, the fact that admission could not readily be done, and the reluctance of older persons (and their families) to move to old-age homes due to the potential exposure to infections and potential lockdowns.
This situation put enormous pressure on old-age homes due to the loss of income. What’s more, programmes had to accept that fundraising events could not take place during the national lockdowns. Subsidies from the Department of Social Services did not increase, which obviously exacerbated the situation.