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Centre for the elderly faces closure

LIMPOPO – Denzhe-Lwamutsha Place of Care in Lwamondo Village, outside Thohoyandou – home to over 100 elderly people, is facing closure.

The facility, established in 2007 to look after neglected rural elderly people, is not coping with the challenges it is facing as it tries to keep up with the much-needed services it has been offering for over a decade.

The home is currently suffering from a water shortage, no electricity supply and insufficient accommodation to shelter over 100 grannies who need care.

Currently the elderly people who are served by the home all meet there three times a week. At the Denzhe-Lwamutsha Place of Care they receive food, are encouraged to exercise and can socialise with others.

The caregivers at Denzhe-Lwamutsha do house visits to look after those who are unable to visit the Place of care due to illnesses or old age. Operating in a two roomed house – which is not enough space to shelter all the grannies on rainy days – Denzhe-Lwamutsha is funded by the Department of Social Development. They receive funding only every three months, and the money does not cover all the costs. 

Challenges

“We currently have about 100 elderly people under our care but we are faced with a lot of challenges which are hindering us in reaching our target goals. We do not have water and electricity, despite having pleaded with the local municipality several times. Not having water makes it difficult for us to grow and maintain our vegetable garden. We are forced to fetch water from far places using wheelbarrows when we want to irrigate our garden,” said Tshilidzi Mphephu, a caregiver at the centre.

“We are also forced to store the food at our homes as we do not have a fridge here because there is no electricity. When we established the centre years back, we had realised that many elderly people are neglected in their homes, while others are mistreated. The exercises we do here help the grannies to stay fit and healthy. But with the way things are going at the moment we might be forced to close down the centre, which will hurt the grannies who regard the centre as their second home,” said Mphephu.

Only grannies over the age of 60 are registered at Denzhe-Lwamutsha, with the oldest being Alidzuli Lishivha (90) from Lwamondo.

Our only hope now is to continue operating and helping the neglected elderly people and hope that we get donations from good Samaritans. Elderly people are our living libraries and should be looked after in a dignified manner.

“The exercise and care we get here make me feel like a young girl again. I no longer get sick often, and I can even go a whole year without being affected by flu. I enjoy playing soccer as it’s something we never had a chance to do while growing up years back,” said Emma Nekhalale (86), one of the grannies under the care of Denzhe-Lwamutsha Place of Care.

“Our only hope now is to continue operating and helping the neglected elderly people and hope that we get donations from good Samaritans. Elderly people are our living libraries and should be looked after in a dignified manner,” said Mphephu.

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