During Human Rights Month The Association for the Aged will, for the first time ever, participate in a gathering of African member countries of elder care associations belonging to CommonAge, the Commonwealth’s Association for the Ageing.
The meeting takes place in KZN from 25-26 March 2019, and will bring together leaders in elder care from the African Commonwealth Countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. Themed “Connecting and Collaborating”, the various member country representatives will share their regional experiences with the ageing population with a view to exchanging learnings, and sharing ideas, creating connections, and combating ageism across the African continent.
Tafta CEO Femada Shamam says this meeting represents an exciting start of an African journey to create a platform for the discussion of elder care and rights solutions across the continent. “While the CommonAge platform is an exciting world stage for us to share learnings and create networking opportunities for intercontinental research projects, the Africa chapter experiences a unique set of ageism challenges that requires robust discussions and a local framework for engagement. Elder care matters range across a spectrum of problems that include health, physical, mental and rights issues. We hope to use this opportunity to lay down a foundation to pro-actively engage with our governments and other stakeholders to begin lobbying for proper infrastructure developments around elder care.”
Shamam added that in South Africa alone, where elder care issues are legitimised on the national agenda through the Older Person’s Act, a reporting framework for elder abuse has yet to be tabled.
“If we lack the statistics to understand the magnitude of the rights abuses against the elderly, how do we even begin implementing any sort of reparation programme?” she said. Shamam will present on the topic “Ageing within the South African context – an overview” at the meeting. Other topics to be presented from other African delegates include discussions around life quality of elders, care giver support programmes, income security and dementia care in the African context.
Also on the programme line-up is CommonAge member and renowned gerontologist Dr Ingrid Eyers, of the UK. Eyers said she was delighted to be attending this meeting: “It is a great honour to be taking part in this first CommonAge Africa meeting. Since my childhood in Durban, I have taken a continuous interest in Africa and especially South Africa. As a gerontologist I am very interested in ageing across the world. My intention when I left my academic career, was to participate in developments in the care of older people for as long as I possibly could. Aiming to bring research to practice. In recent years I have been involved with both the World Health Organisation and the European Union and at my local level with care homes providing hands on care in England and Germany. My hope is to also be able to participate in and inform the developments taking shape in African countries focusing on meeting the needs of the ageing population.”
The two-day meeting will close on Tuesday, 26 March.
Click here for African representatives’ Biodatas.