Community caregivers in the INK Project learn
some effective ways to keep senior citizens
healthy, active and happy.

Senior citizens who participated in a research project that was conducted by the Department of Geriatrics together with a multidisciplinary team of health scientists from UKZN and non-governmental organizations will receive improved healthcare and learn new ways to stay healthy, active and happy. 

Professor Bilkish Cassim, Head of Department and Chief Specialist of Geriatrics at UKZN, said that Geriatric Medicine was a relatively new discipline in South Africa and that there was a lack of in-depth research in the field.  Moreover, the country also had a scarcity of resources in both the academic sector and the public sector for Geriatric Medicine.

A community-based research project conducted in Durban’s townships of Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) and funded by the South Africa Netherlands research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD), investigated the environmental and socio-economic factors that influence the health status and quality of life of older persons living in the INK region and the unmet healthcare needs of these persons.  The research team felt strongly that an important aspect of community based research was reporting back to all stakeholders and instituting training workshops where needs had been identified.

Such a training workshop was recently held with caregivers, their facilitators and supervisors in KwaMashu. A fun-filled and insightful day for all, the workshop gave feedback on the study’s findings and provided a platform to disseminate information which would benefit the community.

Mrs June McIntyre together with Dr Serela Ramklass, health scientists at UKZN, said there were a lot of fun things elderly people could do to stay healthy. Among others, singing, dancing, taking a walk, being around people and playing with grandchildren were said to be important for their general wellbeing.  In an interactive session, they demonstrated simple exercises which can be done in the home.