…‘golden years’ in old age home
Old age is associated with moving into a care home or struggling on in your own home. The Senior Park, which is run by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, is one such shelter that has been providing shelter to elderly for the past 30 years.
With a capacity of 155 persons, the shelter is currently home to 143 elders who are in the latter stages of their lives.
The shelter has its shortcomings like pensioners being obliged to pay a monthly N$400 to live there and no panic buttons in case of emergencies. Recently the need for panic buttons became apparent when one of the residents died in her room and was only discovered after four days when fellow residents got a bad smell from her room. “We would really appreciate some sort of panic button in a watch form like in the old times so that we can at least press the button if we are experiencing some sort of attack,” said the wife of the caretaker Rina Majiedt. Majiedt speaks passionately about her close relationship with the elders living there.
Residents have no complaints with the quality of the state-run shelter, but they would like to have some assistance to make their lives easier. “Two to three elders die here per year and at times nobody knows about the passing of an elder. Now and then good Samaritans visit the shelter to provide the elderly with items such as food and clothing. Living in an old age home can be rather lonely, with some elders claiming that their families do not visit or check up on them.
The single and double rooms are accorded to the elders according to their marital status.
“I keep myself busy. We used to get little gifts on special days from the public as well as food, but it has stopped. Each and every one lives for him or herself here and God for everyone,” said Lydia Cloete.
Even though the senior citizens are not paying the price of a farm and also receive donations of many kinds, the need to better the environment with more facilities remains a call.
Some of the elders said they opted to live in the senior residence because they did not want to be a burden on their families.
“This place has really been good to me. I decided to not be a hassle for my children therefore I am here and I am not disappointed in my decision. Every Tuesday we go to town with a bus and come back. We are very flexible and live as if we are at home,” said one of the residents named Pastor Phillip.
“We look after ourselves and we take care of each other, but there are certain problems we experience and would be appreciated if it gets fixed,” complained an elder that wants to remain anonymous, adding that everything just remains the same and some elders often fix or build what they need themselves.
According to the regulations of Senior Park, the elders are not allowed to have any other property or extra income when they apply for a space; only the monthly pension fund. With 40% of their N$1000 monthly pension of their pension fund going to the Ministry for housing, the remaining is used to sustain them during the month.
According to the caretaker, Seth Majiedt the elders are very safe and each have their own privacy. They have a 24 hour security service and can even sleep with open windows. Majiedt also mentioned that the old people have their aged related health problems such as a pain here and there and some have difficulty in sight but there is a monthly mobile clinic and to date they are fine apart from a few geysers that need to be fixed.