In our Tafta blog, we write about anything and everything to do with active ageing, and promoting a life worth living, regardless of age
The worst thing about elder abuse is not that it happens. But that it’s so easy to get away with.
You can punch, slap or kick a frail old person … steal from them … deprive them of food, water or medication … shout at them or mock them … or leave them for sitting on the toilet for hours – and, more often than not, they won’t tell anyone what you did.
Because they’re afraid.
Just like children and animals, vulnerable elders are helpless against those who attack or prey on them. Often, the abuser is a family member – a child or grandchild – on whom the old person is completely dependent. To complain is to risk further abuse, isolation to prevent any further communication with people who might help, or even abandonment.
Old people bruise easily and, because they’re often unsteady on their feet, are more prone to bumping into walls and doorways. So cuts, bruises and broken bones, can easily be explained away. If the old person tries to tell an outsider what really happened, the abuser can claim they’re confused or suffering from dementia.
So it’s hardly surprising that there are no hard statistics available. And yet, we know it happens – and it’s getting worse.
“Elder abuse is often described as a silent epidemic, not just here in South Africa, but around the world,” explains Tafta CEO, Femada Shamam. According to the World Health Organisation, more than one in 10 older adults may experience some type of abuse, but only one in five cases or fewer are reported.
Abuse can be physical (hurting the old person or neglecting their basic human needs), emotional (humiliating, isolating, intimidating or ignoring them), financial, or sexual.
This year, Tafta is launching the Purple Hearts Campaign, encouraging others to ‘Do the Right Thing’ and report suspected abuse to the Chief Social Worker at the nearest Social Development office or police station. Elder abuse is a crime – and those who attack vulnerable elders need to understand that it will not be tolerated.
[June 9, 2019]
Old age ain’t for sissies, they say. Just think of all the health issues and ailments you might have to deal with as you get older: arthritis, stiffness and joint pain, osteoporosis, failing eyesight and hearing, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimers!
But what if the food choices you make now could reduce the risk of developing these conditions? Whilst a healthy diet may not be able to prevent disease entirely, certain foods are power packed with nutrients that have the power to fight common ailments.
Who knew eating a banana could help lower your blood pressure? It’s because they’re packed with potassium, which helps your kidneys get rid of salt through your urine. People who consume plenty of potassium have up to a 27% lower risk of heart disease, and eating bananas 4-6 times a week reduces your risk of developing kidney disease by 50%.
But bananas are not only healthy and easy to digest – they’re also extremely affordable, and one of the most convenient snack foods around. Simply peel and eat. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Caution: avoid ripe bananas if you have Diabetes.
No, it’s not full of bad fat that will send your cholesterol levels soaring. Just the opposite in fact. Pure peanut butter (avoid the brands with added sugar and oil) is a relatively cheap source of protein and contains only 20% carbs. Although it is high in fat, half of those fats are healthy monounsaturated fat, like those found in olive oil. Peanut butter also contains linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid abundant in most vegetable oils.
Eating peanut butter causes a very low rise in blood sugar and is a perfect option for people with type 2 diabetes. In fact, one study showed that women who ate peanut butter 5 times a week or more were at a 21% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (source).
The health benefits of eating garlic are legendary. These include: lowering blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels … stimulating digestion, relieving heartburn and intestinal problems … and providing protection against neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimers.
Add anti-nausea properties – useful for controlling morning sickness or the effects of chemotherapy – and anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce arthritic, muscle and joint pain, and you’ll see why consuming plenty of garlic is beneficial regardless of your age.
Good news: your chocolate habit might actually be good for you! That’s because dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, that may help prevent heart attacks, lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of stroke. Some studies recommend eating up to 100 grams a day – an entire small slab!
Milk and yoghurt
These are excellent sources of calcium, which helps prevent osteoporosis and brittle bones. If you’re concerned about weight gain, opt for low fat or skim milk varieties. Since our bodies need Vitamin D to absorb calcium, dairy needs to be eaten with foods rich in Vitamin D, such as egg yolk, salmon, tuna or mushrooms.
Another super food, beetroot comes with a powerhouse of health benefits. Low in calories, yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals, beets contain traces of almost all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Beetroot contains a high concentration of nitrates, which have a blood pressure-lowering effect. This may lead to a reduced risk of heart attacks and stroke, as well as helping to improve mental and cognitive function.
Although more research is needed, one study found that beetroot extract, which is high in betalain pigments, reduced the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells.
Asparagus is full of disease fighting nutrients. Lycopene, for example, can protect against prostate cancer. Vitamin A boosts the immune system and eye health, while the fibre in the vegetable helps reduce cholesterol and contributes to a healthy heart.
[May 20, 2019]
Do you have an elderly friend or relative who’s taking on the challenge of ‘the ultimate human race’ on 9 June 2019? Someone from your running club, perhaps? Or even yourself!
With our commitment to active ageing, Tafta is looking to be inspired by the grandest of the Grandmasters (age 60+) who’s ready to take on the world’s largest and oldest ultra marathon this year. We’d love to find out more about their journey, and the ‘secret’ to staying fit enough to complete the grueling 87 km up run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.
Nothing epitomises the concept of active ageing quite like Comrades legend, Wally Hayward, who passed away in April 2006. In his prime in the 50s, Wally won the marathon five times.
In 1988, at the age of 79, he completed the race in a time of 9 hours 34 minutes, beating half the finishers! The following year Wally was back for his final Comrades, and still holds the record for the oldest person to have completed the race.
What an inspiration!
Tafta promotes the concept of active ageing, both in the community and within our residences, by providing a number of programmes and activities designed to engage and inspire elders – physically, mentally and socially. Older people who are active, stimulated and involved in the community enjoy a better quality of life and suffer fewer age related illnesses.
We thought it would be a real eye opener to our residents, and many younger people in the community, if we could identify, and follow the progress of the most senior Comrades runner this year.
So please help us find the next Wally Hayward, by sharing this post and get tagging. Let’s all get inspired by active ageing!
[May 9, 2019]
Easy to say – but if you’re serious about showing mom how loved and appreciated she is, how do you plan to do that?
Society suggests that you should take her out for a meal or buy her a gift. But with only just over a week to go, you may find her favourite restaurant – and every other one in town – is already fully booked.
Retailers are only too happy to offer hundreds of other suggestions. Flowers, perfume and beauty salon vouchers … jewellery and gadgets … a lovely new vacuum cleaner or iron (please don’t!) … champagne and even a gin kit!
The unspoken message is that if you really care, and really love her, you need to spend big. In the USA, consumers are expected to spend a record $25 billion this year on Mother’s Day. Last year Mother’s Day was the highest restaurant spending day of the year. The second highest was the day before Mother’s Day! And you thought Valentine’s Day was big?
But is all of this really necessary? A quick and completely non-scientific survey among some moms we know revealed that thoughtful gestures rather than large gifts are what’s most appreciated.
Young moms would love the opportunity for a rare ‘sleep in’ in the morning … tea in bed (heaven!) … or some ‘me’ time to take a relaxing bubble bath. After which, they’d love to spend the day doing fun stuff with the kids. And surprise – lunch at a posh restaurant is not that much fun with small children.
Top of the list for older moms is just to spend some time with their family.
If you live away from your mom, pick up the phone and call her. Listen to her and encourage her to share her stories for a change. Visit her and spend precious time with her, be it over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. People feel most appreciated when others give them their time. It’s the one thing money can’t buy.
And let’s not forget, that while we celebrate our moms, others are all alone with no one to visit them. Maybe their families have moved away, or they are no longer alive. If you know of someone in this position, perhaps you can include her in your plans for the day. It will mean the world to her, and could just add an extra layer of pleasure to everything you do. Especially if you no longer have a mom of your own to spoil.
[May 2, 2019]
How do you know when you’ve saved enough to be able to retire?
There are many different factors to take into account, including the unpredictable rate of inflation. Your safest bet always is to consult a professional, who will take your individual circumstances and needs into consideration. But the general rule of thumb is that if you can live on 6% of your retirement investment capital, and your savings are properly managed, you should be able to retire comfortably.
According to an article published in Fin24 in 2017, after you retire you should be able to manage on about 20% less per month. This assumes that you’ll spend less on transport and business attire. Your home may also be paid off, or you may downsize. Please note that this theory does not allow for the possibility of deteriorating health, or the need for specialised care in later life.
So, if you’re living on R20 000 per month now, you should be able to manage on R16 000 when you retire. But in order to be able to keep drawing off R16 000 for as long as you live, you need to have sufficient capital to generate this amount in interest.
The article quotes the historical return on the South African stock market (since 1964) as about 8% higher than the local inflation rate, which means that a safe withdrawal rate is estimated to be about 6%.
Based on a 6% annual withdrawal rate after retirement, the amount you will need to have saved looks something like this:
R16 000 x 12 months = R192 000 (annual living income) ÷ 0.06 (6% safe withdrawal rate) = R3 200 000.
So you’ll need R3.2 million if you plan to retire now. If you plan to retire in 10 years’ time, you’ll need more. Because, inflation will dramatically affect the cost of living. Working on an annual inflation rate of 6%, the R3.2 million savings you need today will have increased to around R5.7 by 2029.
At the moment, only about 6% of South Africans can afford to retire independently. If you are not already saving for your retirement by contributing to a retirement annuity or pension fund, you need to start right now. If you leave it too late to begin saving, it is virtually impossible to accumulate sufficient savings to fund your retirement.
[April 30, 2019]