Old age is a part of the human condition and only the intervention of an early death halts this process. However, in spite of this the attitude of many toward the aged is characterised by disrespect, disregard and neglect. Those who have contributed to the realisation of the present are frequently considered redundant. Many elderly people live lives marked by loneliness, progressive infirmity and limited financial resources, and are all too often the victims of physical abuse and financial exploitation. This sad reality is further complicated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the consequent number of orphaned vulnerable children (OVC) in need of care and support. The generation traditionally responsible for the nurturance and socialisation of children, as well as the care of the elderly, has been decimated. Many grandparents, despite their own infirmity, vulnerability and limited financial resources, have been obliged to step into the breach.
Report by Lois Law
Researcher, Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO)