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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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Governments around the world must work out how to cope with an ageing population, a UN report says.

The study by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and private group HelpAge International has warned that developing economies with lots of young workers may one day find their populations a drag.

It also said countries needed to improve medical provision to extend the years of health that older people can enjoy.

The report, which was released on Monday to coincide with International Day of Older Persons, says that of the seven billion people who live on the planet, 893 million or 12.8 per cent are elderly — older than 60.

In just one decade, the elderly population will swell by 200 million taking it well beyond one billion people, and potentially putting a greater strain on welfare and medical systems around the world, the report said.

The report was accompanied by a symposium on ageing in Japan, the world’s fastest-greying country, where around a quarter of the population is over 65 already, a proportion the government forecasts will rise to 40 per cent within half a century.

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