Group creates awareness on seniors’ rights

Community activist, Francis Schoeman, from MURA shares her concerns about seniors. Next to her is Chairperson of L&C Community Outreach Programme, Luce-Lynn Fondling.

L&C Community Outreach Programme are raising their concerns around seniors and their medication being overprescribed.

They focus on outreach programmes in education, sport and environment especially to bring awareness to bullying, victims who experience bullying and they’re also working with the Citizen Commission of Human Rights, she said.

On Wednesday April 26 the group met with the elderly in the community and neighbourhood watch structures to address the issue, at Lentegeur High School hall.

Luce-Lynn Fondling speaks to seniors and community workers at a meeting at Lentegeur High School.

On Saturday May 6 the group also marched to Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital with placards to bring awareness on the rights of seniors at health facilities.

On Saturday May 6 they marched to Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital with their placards to bring awareness on the rights of seniors at health facilities.

Chairperson, Luce-Lynn Fondling said at the meeting with the elderly, she is concerned for the safety of the seniors with the overprescription of medication.

“The main concern is a safety concern. We are looking at the elderly who are being bullied and victimised with the prescribed medication that they’re receiving. I am passionate about this. My mother experienced kidney failure and I had to ask questions but no one checked my mom while she was on the medication which is what we would have appreciated,” she said.

Ms Fondling has questioned the medication they receive as elderly as it does not make sense to her, she said.

“Sometimes the elderly are not able to speak for themselves at the facilities and so we must help where we can to bring awareness to this issue,” she said.

At a meeting, Portland senior, Denice Petersen, said it is important for doctors to explain what type of medication seniors are prescribed.

“Firstly as elders we trust the doctor but, in my experience, the doctors don’t explain what the medication is for or explain the dynamics of it all. We must be more alert to medical staff overprescribing medication to us and be at the point of asking how this will help us and what the side effects are,” she said.

“Most of our older doctors have left the country so we find ourselves with student doctors who don’t know what we may need. Medically they should do a thorough check before the prescription. It’s very serious, they don’t run a test to see if the medication is working. Elderly don’t go for a follow up at the hospitals. You are lucky if you get to see a doctor on your visit to the hospital,” said Ms Petersen.

Ricardo Bowman, from the Portland neighbourhood watch said young people also need to be educated on these matters so that they can assist the elderly and ask the right questions.

Oleander Oakes, DAWN representative, Portland Ratepayers chairperson and Portland sub-forum chairperson, said: “Sometimes we forget our human rights. When you get to the day hospital next time, ask questions and don’t feel offended. If they don’t give you a doctor, ask for the person in charge and enquire why you’re not being seen by a doctor.”

Community activist, Francis Schoeman, from MURA said they deliver her medication to her home.

“Seniors should not be afraid to ask questions and raise their concerns when they visit the health facilities. They need to make known how they feel especially when taking the medication. We must also help one another if we are unsure,” she said.

Sub-council 12 chairperson Solomon Philander said: “No formal complaint was received and should they want to complain, we will treat this as any other complaint received in the past as a priority to resolve.”

He invited the group to meet with him.

“I encourage the group to please come sit down to share their experiences and those of the people they represent,” he said.

The Health Care facility has a formal complaint process for patients and community, he said.

“A medical doctor prescribed medication based on the patient’s conditions; the prescription is then made out at the pharmacy. For the patients on chronic medication this medication is pre-packed at a distribution centre. The patient depending on a collection point has the option of collecting at a community distribution point, or the locker or at the pharmacy,” said Mr Philander.

He will call on the organised group to state their concerns in writing. “I’m sure the facility will respond to all their concerns and where there is a need to recommend changes the facility will consider it depending on the operations,” said Mr Philander.

Monique Johnstone, spokesperson for the provincial department of health, said the Western Cape Government Department of Health and Wellness wants to ensure residents receive only the best service.

“If you’re unhappy with the care or treatment you received from a Western Cape Government health and wellness facility, send a “Please Call Me” to 079 769 1207 or call 0860 142 142 to lodge your complaint,” she said.

Send an email to or lodge a complaint at the facility via their complaints process by either placing your complaint in their complaint box or arrange a meeting with the facility manager.