This research was prompted by the gruesome killing of elderly women within the very communities they live in. Elderly women are falsely accused due to lack of knowledge and education in these communities. Focus will be on why are elderly people victims of brutal killings in their societies. Furthermore, the study will be looking at empowering societies in understanding the stages of ageing and health challenges related to this topic and to educate and create awareness that will change the attitudes of the communities as far as elderly women are concerned.
Communities need to be educated, to understand that there are neurological illnesses that are challenging our elderly people when they grow old such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s. People suffering from these illnesses often have memory loss and disorientation. Sometimes this can be so severe that they would even forget names of their own children. In some instances, they would get out of their homes as if they were taking a walk, but fail to know the direction coming back home, and consequently that is how they get lost.
For those that are living with them and taking care of them, it becomes a challenge, as they are unable to follow a conversation. Most African people do not understand these life changes of the elderly, when they happen, they are quick to judge and label them as witches. A stigma that is grossly rejected and punishable in the African society. This study will endeavour to develop a pastoral model that will move elderly women from the shameful position they find themselves in. Wimberly states, “The sense of mission and purpose in life is a central distinguishable factor in moving forward in life despite rejection.” (Wimberly 1999: 42).
In the African context, so much value is put on the elderly people where they are seen as a source of experience and wisdom, their rejection is the same as rejection of ancestors. According to the researcher, this is closely related to a biblical teaching that says “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12). This is proof enough that elderly people should be respected in their communities. In conclusion, the researcher is of the view that pastors, priests and ministers cannot stand and fold their arms whilst the elderly are being killed in the very communities they live in.
Dissertation (MA (Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2018.