Chamana Village, Cofimvaba, 17 September 2021: On the second day of raising awareness on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, the community of Chamana village in Cofimvaba, expressed the need to unite in the fight against the killings of older persons in the area. The village residents declared their unwavering support to government and pledged to unite and deal with those who threaten older persons’ lives.
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neuro-degenerative disease which worsens gradually as senior citizens advance in years and its popular symptoms include amongst others, difficulty in remembering recent events, problems with language, disorientation, mood swings and loss of motivation.
Chamana village resident, Ms Unathi Sisana, emphasised the importance of unity in her community and said that: “We can end the killings of older persons in our community if we unite by working together as residents and include traditional leaders and police in our efforts. I am thinking of the police because some older persons may be victims of criminals who want to rob older persons of their social grant money as levels of poverty and unemployment are high in the area.”
Another attendee from Nquthu village in Cofimvaba, Mr Frans Ntsondelele, who is physically disabled said incidents of older persons' killings are common in the area and are often caused by lack of information on Alzheimer’s disease. "Once older persons have solo conversations and mention names of deceased people, they are immediately suspected of witchcraft and are murdered. As community members we appreciate the efforts of raising awareness in our communities by the Department of Social Development," he said.
Health officials also attended the dialogues to educate attendees about the disease and some of its causes. Amongst other things, they highlighted that persons involved in car accidents may develop dementia at an early stage of their lives. Community members were also encouraged to minimise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease during their early years through regular exercising, living healthy lives and avoid any unhealthy habits which can affect the normal function of brain cells. Community members were also encouraged to vaccinate against Covid-19 and continue to wear masks, social distance, sanitise or wash their hands regularly.
World Alzheimer’s Day will be led by the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Mrs Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, and will raise awareness against the disease though engagement with community members on Tuesday, 21 September eCacadu. The areas of Cofimvaba, Cacadu and Ngcobo were chosen due to the high number of murder cases reported against older persons.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT