Recent accusations of elderly neglect at several care centres in the Western Cape have focused attention on the Older Persons Act of 2006.

This is intended to protect, promote and maintain the status, rights, well-being and security of elderly people. It is an Act that aims to prevent the abuse of frail older persons, including giving them 24-hour care and support services in residential facilities.

Also required are “care and supervision services for older persons who are suffering from dementia and related diseases.”

Other services at residential facilities include:

  • Counselling services for residents and family members who need these services.
  • Implementation and monitoring of outreach programmes
  • Provision of beds for the temporary accommodation of older persons at risk
  • Respite care services
  • Training of volunteer caregivers to deal with frail older persons
  • Recreational and sport facilities

Older persons in residential facilities have the right to:

  • Appoint a representative to act on his or her behalf
  • Have reasonable access to assistance and visitation
  • Have access to basic care
  • Privacy
  • Participate in social, religious and community services of his or her choice
  • His or her own physician if he or she can afford it

Full details of the Older Persons Act of 2006 can be found online at Google. It also has a useful summary of the Act.