Youth will help elderly in new Adopt-a-Granny Programme

MAY 10, 2017
Youth will help elderly in new Adopt-a-Granny Programme

A new programme to improve the lives of senior citizens with the help of the youth was launched by the George Municipality on Thursday 4 May 2017.

Addressing guests at a luncheon for some of the town’s oldest citizens in the George Civic Centre, the project’s champion, Community Development and Libraries Portfolio Councillor Alderlady Mercia Draghoender, said the Adopt-a-Granny programme aimed to close the gap and shortcomings in the lives of senior citizens, as well as close the growing gap between the aged and the youth.

“The development of modern South African society has impacted the functioning of our families, especially our senior citizens. It is expected of them to adapt to modern technology, gadgets and inventions irrespective of their background and life experiences. Many senior citizens in our communities are struggling to cope and adapt to these challenges, which contributes to them feeling isolated,” she said.

Ald Draghoender explained the programme would consist of many projects that would be rolled out continuously to address different aspects of senior citizens’ lives. Among these will be a project in which young people will help the elderly to use technology such as cellular phones and the internet. Another will involve basic care and chores, such as gardening and basic household clean-up or personal washing and haircare.

Suitable young people, who have been community-identified and vetted, will serve pre-identified senior citizens in their own communities. The long-term plan is to roll out relevant, suitable programmes in all wards within the municipal area.

The municipality will work together with relevant government departments – such as Social Development and the SAPS, NGOs and charities – to implement and address different aspects of the programme.

Ald Draghoender said the challenge was to ensure that the elderly experienced being cared for, feel part of and worthy of being senior citizens. “The programme’s motto, ‘Golden Threads’ summarises the connection we want to achieve between the aged and youth to enable young people to learn and internalise from the experiences of our seniors.”

George Executive Mayor Alderman Melvin Naik said while the programme’s primary focus was to support and show dignity to the elderly, it would hold benefits for the youth and the aged. “I envisage that through the Adopt-a-Granny programme we will not only have enriched the lives of participating youth and senior citizens, but will also have shaped the thoughts and values of future generations. This project can allow us to confidently send our message via our youth into the future, convinced that it will be a better one,” said Ald Naik. 

Caption: George Executive Mayor, Alderman Melvin Naik (left) and Community Development and Libraries Portfolio Councillor, Alderlady Mercia Draghoender (right) celebrated the launch of the Adopt-a-Granny programme alongside Evelyn Mayipheli and 100 of the town’s oldest citizens