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Debunking myths and doing the cowboy hustle

Stonecroft's next meeting is at the Shelly Beach Methodist Church on Friday, October 21 at 09:30.

I am fine, thank you. This is the standard answer given by the elderly, whether they are speaking to their family, friends or their doctor.

Addressing the September Stonecroft meeting, Brent Staples, manager at Anerley Haven, a frail care facility for the aged, debunked the myths that have often exacerbated the stigma of aging and negative perceptions of dementia.

He said many older people fear being a burden to their loved ones and are loath to ask for help when they were unable to care for themselves.

“They have misconceptions about moving into care homes, one being they need to leave something for their children or grandchildren and cannot spend the inheritance money,” said Brent.

“We found many who come to live at the haven have poor diets lacking in nutrition. Either they forget to eat or they cannot cook anymore. It is important that older people have optimum nutrition and stay hydrated. Many will not drink liquids to avoid too many trips to the toilet. It has been remarkable to see immediate changes when residents have well-balanced meals and begin interacting with their peers.”

Brent explained that, worldwide, it is estimated that one in three people over the age of 85 years will develop some type of dementia.

“Dementia is not a disease, it is a group of symptoms that affect the ability to think and remember things. Getting old is an honour and there should be no negative myths associated with assisted living facilities.”

On another note, who would have thought that putting your hands through your belt, shuffling in line and shouting ‘Hee, ha’ along with a group of ‘old’ women would save someone from the depths of despair?

But that is exactly what music teacher Noel Roos needed to help him through a difficult period in his life.
Telling his story, Noel, described a privileged early life, which all changed when his mine manager father gave up his well-paid job to enter the ministry and move his family from Johannesburg to Gqeberha.

After completing his music degree at Stellenbosch University the family relocated to the South Coast – not a good place for a music teacher as none of the schools offered music as a subject. Totally dejected, Noel ended up working at the crematorium.

An opportunity to teach at Port Shepstone Senior Primary kept him there for 12 years. Happy to teach but going through personal trials including suffering two heart attacks and a rare illness, he turned to the Bible and found Jeremiah ch 29 vs 11: ‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.’

Those plans took him to a line dancing class with Lori Payne and her ‘old’ girls. He resigned from PSSP and took up a part time position at PSJP. And as they say in the classics, ‘the rest is history’.

Noel graduated from star pupil to teacher and he and his ‘cowboy hustlers’ have won numerous awards since. “I am grateful to have grown up in a Christian home. God has given me courage,” he said.

Stonecroft’s next meeting is at the Shelly Beach Methodist Church on Friday, October 21 at 09:30.

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