Orkney - The health of the elderly should be a priority, as more and more are becoming caregivers to HIV positive children, says North West MEC for Health and Social Development, Rebecca Kesienyane.
She said in Africa millions of adult AIDS patients were being cared for at home by their parents and when they pass away, their children are mainly looked after by their grandparents.
"We can all agree that such a critical role and contribution to development can only be assured if older persons enjoy adequate levels of health," said the MEC.
She urged communities to make it their responsibility to ensure that the elderly receive immediate and accessible health care to enable them to continue to play the nurturing role they do.
There should be more targeted training of health professionals on old-age care, preventing and managing age-associated chronic diseases and developing age-friendly services and settings, Kesienyane added.
She said that while the old age grant was not always enough to cover all the responsibilities that the elderly have to pay for, government would continue to do its best to ensure adequate housing and provision of other basic services for them.
Kesienyane was speaking at an event to honour senior citizens and mark International Day for Older Persons in Orkney.