SOCIAL WORKERS STEP IN TO ASSIST ELDERLY MAN DURING AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

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Officials interacting with Mkhulu Mthandeki during door-to-door in preparation for World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day

By Madali Chibambu

  • With the aim of addressing and highlighting the abuse of the elderly, The Gauteng Department of Social Development, in collaboration with the Department of Health, conducted a door-to-door campaign on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
  • During the campaign, officials visited 65-year-old Zwelandile Mthandeki in Finetown township, learning of his distressing abuse by his drug-addicted daughter.
  • The intervention by social workers offered Mthandeki a glimmer of hope, showcasing the critical role of social workers in supporting and protecting the elderly in the community.

During a door-to-door awareness campaign on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, officials from the Gauteng Department of Social Development, in collaboration with the Department of Health, visited 65-year-old Zwelandile Mthandeki in Finetown township, Joburg South.

The campaign aimed to address and highlight elder abuse, with social workers playing a crucial role in offering support and intervention.

Mthandeki, who resides in an RDP house with his wife, three children, and two grandchildren, shared his distressing experience of abuse at the hands of his drug-addicted daughter. The abuse had left him with a permanent scar on his head, and he expressed his ongoing fear and helplessness.

Upon hearing Mthandeki’s story, the departmental social workers demonstrated immediate concern and empathy. They carefully documented the details of his situation, ensuring they had all the necessary information to provide effective assistance. Mthandeki’s account revealed the extent of the abuse, including physical, financial, and emotional harm inflicted by his daughter.

The social workers assured Mthandeki that they would follow up on his case. They discussed possible interventions, including facilitating access to a rehabilitation programme for his daughter and securing grants for his grandchildren. This intervention aims to alleviate the financial and emotional burden on Mthandeki and his wife.

Additionally, the social workers emphasised the importance of creating a safe environment for Mthandeki. They explored options for legal and social support, including protection orders and counselling services, to help Mthandeki regain a sense of security and well-being in his own home.

The visit by the Gauteng Department of Social Development and the Department of Health highlighted the critical role of social workers in addressing elder abuse. Their commitment to follow up on Mthandeki’s case provided a glimmer of hope for him, illustrating the impact of their intervention in improving the lives of vulnerable elderly individuals.

Through this campaign, the social workers not only raised awareness about elder abuse but also took proactive steps to assist those affected, showcasing their dedication to supporting and protecting the elderly in the community.

Picture taken by: Eric Malema

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