Help Us to Move, See, and Remember: A Campaign for Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities

The ageing population across the globe is growing at an unprecedented rate. As we celebrate International Day of Older Persons on October 1st, it’s crucial to focus on the challenges faced by older individuals, especially those with disabilities. This year, the United Nations’ theme, “Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations,” brings attention to the rights of older individuals and how solidarity among generations can offer sustainable solutions. This theme resonates deeply with our campaign at Badisa – “Help Us to Move, See, and Remember.”

The Aging Population: A Global Perspective

Did you know that by 2050, the number of people aged 65 or older worldwide is projected to more than double, reaching 1.6 billion? This demographic shift brings both opportunities and challenges. With increased life expectancy, older adults have the potential to contribute to society, but they also face unique health concerns. One of the most significant challenges for older individuals is the decline in sight, mobility, and memory. These three factors often go hand in hand, impacting an individual’s quality of life and dignity.

The Role of Badisa

At Badisa, we recognise that assisting elderly persons with disabilities or dementia is not a task for just anyone; it requires specialised care and support. We play a vital role in fulfilling this need, upholding the dignity and rights of older individuals. In South Africa, the Older Persons Act provides legal protection for the rights of older persons, ensuring their safety, security, and overall wellbeing. We are committed to promoting and maintaining the status and dignity of older individuals in society. Download “The Rights of Older Persons” poster here

Ageing and your eyes

As you grow older, it’s common to experience changes in your vision. A few common changes for older adults include:

  • Losing the ability to see up close
  • Challenges in distinguishing colors, especially blue from black
  • Needing more time to adapt to varying light levels


Fortunately, these issues are often easily corrected/remedied. Wearing glasses, using contact lenses, make use of low vision apparatus, assistive devices and improving lighting can be helpful, allowing your to maintain your lifestyle and independence.

As you age, your risk of certain eye diseases and conditions increases, and some changes in your vision may be more serious. To maintain optimal eye health, make sure to have regular eye exams to detect any problems early on.

Monitoring Visual Health for Optimal Well-being

Proactive steps towards maintaining a safe and active lifestyle despite impaired vision begins with understanding the degree and underlying causes of this loss

For most individuals, the decline in vision occurs gradually, making it challenging for seniors (as well as their family members) not to be aware of how compromised their vision has become. Caregivers can play a crucial role in monitoring a loved one’s vison by observing signs such as:

  • Squinting or adjusting their head position when trying to focus
  • Accidental collisions with objects or knocking things over
  • Discontinuation of routine vision-related activities like reading or writing
  • Difficulty in accurately reaching for objects
  • Instances of stumbling or walking hesitantly


If a loved one is still driving, and increase in accidents or risky maneuvers may indicate changes in vision. It is important to discuss these noticeable changes with your loved one and scheduling an eye examination to ensure early detection and treatment of potential eye diseases, preventing long-term damage.

Helping a Senior Accept Visual Changes

Conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy can profoundly affect a senior’s functional capabilities and overall quality of life. In some cases , impaired vision may lead to feelings of depression, withdrawal, and reduced activity levels. Caregivers, are often equally confused and overwhelmed by the visual changes experienced by their loved ones. They may feel uncertain about how to provide support to their elderly relatives struggling to accept these new limitations but it is important to note that there is hope and the possibility of a fulfilling life after experiencing vision loss.

Tips and products for helping a senior with low vision/ Guidance and Assistive Devices for Supporting Seniors with Low Vison:

  • Good lighting is Key: Ensure well-lit spaces, but watch out for glare.
  • Implement Measures to Reduce the Risk of Falls: Use nightlights, declutter, and remove hazards. Create clear walking paths.
  • Improve Household Organization: Designate spots for items and use baskets for easy access.
  • Embrace Contrasting Colors: Use light and dark colors for better visibility.
  • Think Bigger: Seek larger print/buttons on items or use magnifiers.
  • Collaborate with a Specialist in Low Vision: Consult experts for personalized solutions and aids.
  • Provide Moral Support: Encourage engagement in activities and maintain open communication.

A recent study at JAMA Opthalmology has unveiled a significant correlation between visual impairments and dementia in older adults. The study involving nearly 3 000 elderly individuals revealed a higher risk of dementia among those with sight issues.

This data bolsters an increasing volume of research highlighting the correlation between vision and cognitive disorders. The team’s findings suggest that prioritizing eye healthcare could be a key strategy in mitigating cognitive decline and reducing dementia risk.

Memory Loss and Dementia

Memory loss is another concern that older individuals may face. While occasional forgetfulness is a part of ageing, more severe memory issues can be a sign of Dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of Dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that slowly destroys brain cells and tissues. Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Almost 40% of people over 65 will experience some form of memory loss, but it’s crucial to differentiate between age-associated memory impairment and dementia.

Signs of memory loss as a part of normal ageing may include occasional difficulty remembering conversations or events from a year ago, forgetting acquaintances’ names, occasional memory lapses, occasional word-finding difficulties, and personal worry about memory while others aren’t concerned.

In contrast, signs of Dementia encompass an increased frequency of memory problems, including memory loss that significantly impacts daily life and routines, difficulty learning new things, struggling with familiar tasks, an inability to recall recent events or recognise family members, frequent memory lapses, frequent word-finding difficulties, and concern from friends and relatives about memory issues, even if the individual is unaware of the problem.

Dementia is a severe condition that affects daily life and requires medical attention. Keep in mind that the only way to know for sure if you or a loved one have Dementia is to talk to your doctor and get tested.

Maintaining Mobility

Mobility is vital for older individuals to live independently and enjoy a good quality of life. Ageing can bring changes in mobility, which health conditions like Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and neurological disorders can exacerbate.

Promoting better mobility and encouraging an active lifestyle among seniors is not only beneficial for their overall health but also significantly enhances their quality of life. This includes improvements in social relationships, mental well-being, and the ability to age comfortably in their preferred environment. Badisa and our programmes are dedicated to keeping elderly individuals active and engaged within their community for as long as possible.

Maintaining mobility is crucial for seniors because it offers numerous benefits, including:

  • improved mental health,
  • better cardiovascular health,
  • weight control,
  • increased social opportunities,
  • reduced risk of injury,
  • enhanced flexibility,
  • support for self-care and independence, balance improvement,
  • boosted confidence, and
  • encouragement for regular exercise, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.

How to improve mobility?

Regular exercise helps strengthen muscles, improve balance, and reduce the risk of falls. A healthy diet provides the nutrients that older adults need to maintain strong bones and muscles, and adequate sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, and it can also help to improve mobility.

Effective exercises to enhance mobility in seniors include; walking, stretching, yoga (especially chair yoga for those with severe mobility issues), tai chi, balance training exercises, dancing, swimming (suitable for arthritis and osteoporosis), cycling (both outdoor and stationary), and light aerobic exercise like slow-pace jogging.

Additionally, seniors can consider assistive mobility devices like canes, walkers, bed step stools, and wheelchairs to complement their mobility improvement efforts.

Enhancing Lives Through Solidarity

Our campaign, “Help Us to Move, See, and Remember,” aims to raise awareness about these critical issues faced by older individuals and persons with disabilities. We believe that by fostering solidarity among generations, we can create sustainable solutions to enhance the lives of older persons.

As we observe World Mental Health Day, World Arthritis Day, World Sight Day, and World Osteoporosis Day in October, let us remember the importance of addressing these issues and supporting our older community members.

Remember, it’s not just about living longer; it’s about living healthier, happier lives as we age. Together, we can make a difference and fulfill the promises of human rights for older persons across generations.

So, let’s take hands today and the whole of October to:

👉 Raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities of ageing.
👉 Promote the rights of older persons. Download and print the poster here
👉 Celebrate the contributions of older persons across generations. Follow us on Facebook
👉 Make a donation through Badisa to those who are vulnerable, Click here. Or donate goods in kind to one of our programme, find a programme here

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