Original Research

Exploration of service centres for older persons in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa

Ntsikelelo Pefile, Bomkazi Fodo, Seyi Amosun
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 78, No 1 | a1567 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v78i1.1567 | © 2022 Ntsikelelo Pefile, Bomkazi Fodo, Seyi Amosun | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 March 2021 | Published: 28 January 2022

About the author(s)

Ntsikelelo Pefile, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; and, School of Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Bomkazi Fodo, School of Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Seyi Amosun, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Service centres for older persons were set up in South Africa to implement programmes relating to the six determinants of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) active ageing framework. The framework highlights the value of being physically active to prevent functional decline.

Objective: Our aim was to explore the characteristics of these centres and their members in the Eastern Cape province.

Method: An exploratory, descriptive, cross-sectional design was utilised to explore the characteristics of 25 centres and the profiles of their managers and 275 members of these centres.

Results: The managers had no formal training. Health and social care system requirements were important in the province, but access to healthcare services was minimal, and managers were concerned about the physical environment. Over 50% of the centres provided meals (72%), social support services (60%), dance and aerobics (56%), blood glucose testing (52%) and guardianship for members without families (52%). The members reported multiple morbidities, including hypertension (59%), diabetes (16%) and arthritis (10.5%). Few members used tobacco (n = 20) and alcohol (n = 27), but most (n = 213) were afraid of falling although they went about their daily activities with minimal difficulties. Members were satisfied with their lives (n = 231).

Conclusion: The centres provided platforms to enable the fulfilment of some of the goals of the WHO’s active-ageing framework, but a comprehensive exploration of the centres and the members is needed.

Clinical implications: Physiotherapy, as part of interdisciplinary intervention, will promote the physical health of the members of the centres.


Keywords

population ageing; active ageing; service centres for older persons; WHO active-ageing framework; Department of Social Development

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