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active old people

There is a curious idea, especially among younger folk, that when you retire or become too old to engage in the many pastimes of youth, that you end up with nothing to do. Of course, there are those who mange to achieve this with either satisfaction or a considerable amount of grumbling. But either way, the human condition is not designed for ‘nothing’ and people should understand well in advance, the importance for planning their older years – and the consequences of not doing so.

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The 1st of October was the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) – a day when hopefully we all gave thought to the elderly – their contribution and value in society, their needs and situations, sometimes, sadly, their plight.

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NOTE FROM EDITOR: This story was told and is published in Afrikaans. For English life stories, kindly refer to other blog posts on our HSFA site.

'n Inwoner se verhaal...

Felicia Coetsee kyk na die wêreld vanuit ‘n ander oogpunt… op 4 voet 4.5 duim (“Moenie die halfduim vergeet nie”… kom die aanmaning!!) is sy ’n bietjie korter as meeste van ons maar glo my, beslis nie een om onderskat te word nie! Ons kuiertjie is in haar sonnige kamer in Robari, en haar sagte hand groet net so vriendelik as haar blink, ondeunde oë.

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A residents' story...

“Ag my daaah’ling, it’s so nice not to be forsaken and to be cared for!” These are the welcoming words from Yvonne Britz, as she shares a hug in passing and ‘plops’ me down on a comfortable two-seater couch overlooking a garden square at Silver Oaks. Memories of a youth well spent are smiling down on us from all four walls in her room as laughter very quickly sets in. “Call me Yvonne. I will be 90 in October. Or is it 89…? Never mind,” she continues with a twinkle in her eye. “Call me Yvonne. And incidentally, Proverbs… or is it Psalms… no, Proverbs says our years are 70 or 80… with special mightiness. So excuse me for ‘the mightiness’ young lady!” I have to tease back… “And where exactly do you see any ladies around here?” We’re instant friends.

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A residents' story...

Having met Pat on a previous occasion, a warm hug accompanies her inviting smile as she opens the door to her cottage in Swannack Gardens. It is more like opening a door to her life, and the smile on my face quickly turns to disbelief as she shares the latest chapter whilst we're settling down for a chat. ‘I have cancer.’ Sharing the same diagnosis as her gran, mother and two sisters and saying goodbye to them all through the years, Pat le Roux seems calm and undeterred after receiving the news a handful of months ago: A stage 3 out of a possible 4 sounds quite final– with a prognosis of six months to two years to live.

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