SALVATION Army women ministry has donated assorted foodstuff worth K30 million enough for one year to Mitanda Home for the Aged in Ndola.
Territorial president for women ministries Grace Chepkurui said the elderly were still ostracised by society and it was not easy for them to fit in with the younger generation.
She said elders faced too many challenges such as declining health, lack of retirement funds, high cost of living and discrimination in general.
"We encourage our society to take care of our elderly people and respect senior citizens. Society should stop viewing anybody with white hair as a witch," she said.
"The elderly have a mutual withdrawal from society and their world gets smaller and they don't tend to venture out in the neighbourhoods, they stay homebound," she said when she presented the donated items.
Ms Chepkurui said the United Nations Population Fund estimates that around 50 million people above the age of 60 account for around five per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa's population.
She said in the past, most senior citizens turned to their families for help but that practice is becoming less widespread as everybody is focusing on children.
Ms Chepkurui lamented that development policy debates tended to marginalise issues related to the elderly and the Millennium Development Goals focus on women and children.
The contribution of the elderly to development was particulary important in countries with a high HIV/AIDS prevalence, according to World Health Organisation.
Many older people head what are called skip-generation households where the middle generation has died or become very sick from HIV/AIDS.
Mitanda Home administrator Beryl Pierce said she was happy that the women ministry was supporting the home and the elderly would be able to celebrate Christmas.
She said the home was incurring a deficit of K11 million every month in running costs which includes K6 million for electricity every month and K4 million for water per month.