Firstyear nursing students guide the elderly on healthy living

The elderly at the Sekutupu Old Age Home in Zebediela now can lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle, thanks to firstyear nursing science students at the University of Limpopo (UL)

The students recently visited the home in Capricorn District Municipality to offer the elders some healthy living tips while assessing their wellbeing. The community outreach programme serves as part of the students' academic practicum.

They educated the elderly on maintaining personal hygiene, hypertension, diabetes and regular exercises. One of the students, Knowledge Nkuzana, said it was essential for the elders to learn about personal hygiene, like washing their hands after using a bathroom or before eating. Nkuzana added that they trained the elderly in treating their food as well as cleaning food storages and keeping their nails clean to prevent infectious diseases.

Another student, Ovhaehone Sigonde, explained the importance of education on chronic diseases, especially hypertension. Hypertension is caused by ageing, alcohol abuse and depression among others. The centre's management should ensure that residents are paired in their rooms to avoid depression. In many occasions, depression occurs as a result of loneliness.

Sigonde also urged the old age management to encourage regular light body exercises, eating a healthy diet like fruits and vegetables to minimise chances of hypertension.

The centre was established in 1970 and is currently home to 71 elderly persons who hail from neighbouring communities and as far as Thohoyandou, Phalaborwa and Polokwane.

The visit makes the day special for the elderly because they feel loved and a develop sense of belonging. We hope that after the students complete their studies, they will come and assist the centre with their expertise, says Bessie Chauke, Social Worker.

On a lighter note, the students entertained the elderly with dance, choral music, drama and interacted with them about indigenous knowledge.

Phinius Dindane (67) could not hold back his emotions as he expressed his gratitude for the day well spent. He vowed to reduce his sugar intake and engage more in physical exercises.

Source: University of Limpopo

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