Dr Leon Geffen, family physician and honorary senior lecturer at the Albertina and Walter Sisulu Institute of Ageing in Africa, UCT

The world is growing older. Growing old is not a disease and healthy ageing should be one of our most fundamental rights.


The concept of healthy ageing refers to developing and maintaining our functional ability and wellbeing into old age. Functional ability depends on the environment in which we live and includes our relationships, the built environment, societal attitudes and values that are non-ageist, as well as health and social policies and state institutions that create an enabling environment for older persons.


South Africa is faced with an enormous burden of disease (child and maternal health, infectious diseases, chronic diseases of lifestyle) and the added burden of preventable injuries and deaths from violence and motor vehicle accidents. This leaves little scope for ageing on the health agenda.  However, with South Africa facing an estimated 15.4 million people over sixty by 2030, is it not now time to start addressing the needs of older persons as a matter of priority?




1.  Older persons in society

2.  The rights of older persons

3.  Decision making and capacity

4.  Common health problems of older persons

5.  Healthy ageing – the right to grow old well


Recommended reading

Bayley, J. 2013. Elegy for Iris. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Gawande, A. 2014. Being mortal: medicine and what matters in the end. New York: Metropolitan Books.

Older Persons Act 13 of 2006.


Date: Monday 7–Friday 11 August 
Time: 3.00 pm
COURSE FEES Full: R480,00  Staff: R240,00  Reduced: R120,00