Live healthily. That’s the best way to avoid contracting lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
This was the core message of an awareness event held at the Desmond Tutu hall in Makhaza, hosted by the Department of Health’s Khayelitsha office, Omila Holdings and other stakeholders. It took place on Thursday September 28, with the theme #whenwewere40.
About 70 seniors citizens gathered at the hall to attend the event where they played sports and were tested for high blood pressure, diabetes, TB and HIV.
Through the event, the organisers hoped to promote wellness as a fun lifestyle while equipping residents with information about health matters so that they could make informed decisions about what they consume.
But the senior citizens wanted to know how they could be expected to start exercising at their age.
Simple, the organisers said. Start with easy, light exercises to get your body moving.
Founder and director of Omila Holdings, Bonani Sihange, said he realised that there were programmes that catered for young people and therefore decided to focus on seniors who were sometimes overlooked because there was the perception that they were no longer adding value to society.
Mr Sihange said the major challenge he faced when organising the event, was finding the necessary funding.
He therefore called on communities to work together to play an active role in ensuring that seniors citizens were protected and shown gratitude for having played an essential role in the upbringing of many children and grandchildren. “It is a well known fact that township people do not live a healthy lifestyle and we want to change that. (Many) people die from diseases that could have been prevented if only they were advised about healthy diets.
“We want to remind them about their younger days,” he said.
Resident Richard Sitofile said it was frustrating to sit at home and do nothing.
The 74-year-old said he had learnt a lot here about the importance of eating low fat foods.
While he didn’t feel like he was able to go for a jog, he was happy to have learnt some light stretches and would try to take walks, he said.
Co-ordinator of community-based services at the Department of Health,Thandeka Mdekazi, said it was important that such awareness events were held as they helped them spread information about healthy living.