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Sunday 20 January 2019
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A day in an old age home

…silence and productivity takes over

 

After living a fullfilling life, growing old on a farm with nothing but loved ones by your side would seem like an ideal retirement plan for most if not all. However, as life would have it finding yourself in an old age home is easily closely linked.

Driving along Independence Avenue, on the left side of Richard Tjiramba Street in Katutura, it would be hard to miss the biggest olive green building which is centred along the grey tar road that passes through a series of other homes.

The building known as the Katutura Old Age Home was built in the late 1960’s with the intent of it being a teachers training centre for the Dutch Reform Missionaries, but was however donated to the elderly people of Namibia in 1974 by the municipality, after the missionaries left the country.

Housing exactly 23 elders or rather senior citizens as they have come to be known, with 13 being women and 10 being male the home is spilt into two bays with drying lines on both sides where blankets with different shades of colour are hung out in the sun to dry.

Senior care taker of the home, Kanu Alex welcomed The Lounge with a big bright smile as he was excited to share news on how the home was run on a daily basis.

Alex led the team into his office after taking us around the premises while showing off the vegetable garden, library filled with books written in all languages such as Afrikaans, Dutch, Oshiwambo and English, as well as the homes kitchen, meeting and laundry room.

He then sat down on his wooden chair behind a brown table which took up almost half the space in the office. Alex then explains while looking outside a window that most elders currently housed there have been brought to the home by family members and by people from health units.

“The home only takes in elders based on a few criteria such as the age limit of 60 years and above and not having enough financial aid to sustain themselves and those from deplorable backgrounds.”

The elderly pay N$200 per month as an administrative fee for the general upkeep of the facility. “We receive food from sponsors from the public, they also sometimes provide the elderly with toiletries,” said Alex.

According to Alex, a normal day at the home is like any other as activities for elders such as sporting sessions which include darts, pin bowling, table tennis among others are made available for them to keep fit.

“This is a home and not an institution so we treat them like they would be treated at home, we wash their clothes and the elders are allowed to go out for the day or even weekends if they wish to as long as we are aware of their whereabouts. We also have days where we barbeque with the elders and have small parties.”

The elders are normally taken out of the home for outings by volunteers and during holidays such as Christmas that is fast approaching those that would be staying at the home to celebrate will receive a lovely Christmas dish Alex explained.

Furthermore Alex highlighted while looking straight down the long alley of the female bay, that relationships amongst the elders exists as human nature would have it at times elders would argue with one another but after a while would make up and forgive one another.

After a few minutes of back and forth conversations with Alex, Alex walked down the female bay where he introduces Meekulu Rauha who is 104 years of age and the oldest in the home.

Meekulu Rauha who unfortunately has dementia, could not remember much in terms of  when and how she was brought into the home. However she does recall that she has three children and grandchildren.

“I prefer staying in my room because my love for television can no longer be fulfilled because of my poor eyesight,” she said.

She continued to explain that as much as she appreciates being in the home, she would like to go to the north this Christmas, as it would bring her so much joy.

“I would like to see my family, I really have no one to talk to here at times, I’ve lost some of my eye sight and it would be nice to be around those that know me better.”

A few seats away from Meekulu Rauha, was Pertrus Jacobus who described himself as the handyman of the home. Jacobus who is known as oom Koos moved into the home in 2015.

As he sat on a brown wooden bench that was in front of his room window where he was fixing his 4×4 motor car which he built from scratch by himself, narrated his story of how he fixed everything that normally broke around the home.

Oom Koos who is a very passionate mechanic explained that being handy around the home came natural as he enjoyed assembling broken objects as a hobby.

He however expressed his unhappiness in a humourful manner about the pension money the elderly receive from the governmet.

“I feel like the money is not enough, I want to buy myself a bicycle that costs N$ 3000, I definitely do not want to buy a bicycle for 1200 that would brake tomorrow on the road.”

Oom Koos explained that he has plenty of friends in the home one of them being 94 year old Lazarus Doeseb the eldest man at the home.

Doeseb sat a few rooms away from Oom Koos when The Lounge approached him. He was dressed in very dapper manner, a checkered formal shirt, a grey official pants, black cowboy hat and black shoes as if he were coming from a prestigious event.

Doeseb expressed that he was very glad to receive people as many people don’t really visit him much.

He continued to explain that he was not feeling too well, however he continues to live by God’s grace.

Doeseb who’s new to the home, highlighted that the living conditions are respectable and that they are well taken care of. He however remains worried about his sick wife.

“I visited her last week in hospital and saw that she was not doing well but I continue to pray for her. All I want for Christmas is for her to get better.”

Recognising the efforts made by the public and the home to support the senior citizens with essential care has proved to be of utmost importance. Families are however encouraged to continue taking care of the elderly as it is evident that at times they aren’t able to carry out tasks as they did before.

As many of the elders of the home may feel lonely sometimes they still find time to talk to each other as they all regard themselves as family.

In addition the old age home welcomes any voluntary service from the public to assist with the upkeep of the home and elders.After living a fullfilling life, growing old on a farm with nothing but loved ones by your side would seem like an ideal retirement plan for most if not all. However, as life would have it finding yourself in an old age home is easily closely linked.

Driving along Independence Avenue, on the left side of Richard Tjiramba Street in Katutura, it would be hard to miss the biggest olive green building which is centred along the grey tar road that passes through a series of other homes.

The building known as the Katutura Old Age Home was built in the late 1960’s with the intent of it being a teachers training centre for the Dutch Reform Missionaries, but was however donated to the elderly people of Namibia in 1974 by the municipality, after the missionaries left the country.

Housing exactly 23 elders or rather senior citizens as they have come to be known, with 13 being women and 10 being male the home is spilt into two bays with drying lines on both sides where blankets with different shades of colour are hung out in the sun to dry.

Senior care taker of the home, Kanu Alex welcomed The Lounge with a big bright smile as he was excited to share news on how the home was run on a daily basis.

Alex led the team into his office after taking us around the premises while showing off the vegetable garden, library filled with books written in all languages such as Afrikaans, Dutch, Oshiwambo and English, as well as the homes kitchen, meeting and laundry room.

He then sat down on his wooden chair behind a brown table which took up almost half the space in the office. Alex then explains while looking outside a window that most elders currently housed there have been brought to the home by family members and by people from health units.

“The home only takes in elders based on a few criteria such as the age limit of 60 years and above and not having enough financial aid to sustain themselves and those from deplorable backgrounds.”

The elderly pay N$200 per month as an administrative fee for the general upkeep of the facility. “We receive food from sponsors from the public, they also sometimes provide the elderly with toiletries,” said Alex.

According to Alex, a normal day at the home is like any other as activities for elders such as sporting sessions which include darts, pin bowling, table tennis among others are made available for them to keep fit.

“This is a home and not an institution so we treat them like they would be treated at home, we wash their clothes and the elders are allowed to go out for the day or even weekends if they wish to as long as we are aware of their whereabouts. We also have days where we barbeque with the elders and have small parties.”

The elders are normally taken out of the home for outings by volunteers and during holidays such as Christmas that is fast approaching those that would be staying at the home to celebrate will receive a lovely Christmas dish Alex explained.

Furthermore Alex highlighted while looking straight down the long alley of the female bay, that relationships amongst the elders exists as human nature would have it at times elders would argue with one another but after a while would make up and forgive one another.

After a few minutes of back and forth conversations with Alex, Alex walked down the female bay where he introduces Meekulu Rauha who is 104 years of age and the oldest in the home.

Meekulu Rauha who unfortunately has dementia, could not remember much in terms of  when and how she was brought into the home. However she does recall that she has three children and grandchildren.

“I prefer staying in my room because my love for television can no longer be fulfilled because of my poor eyesight,” she said.

She continued to explain that as much as she appreciates being in the home, she would like to go to the north this Christmas, as it would bring her so much joy.

“I would like to see my family, I really have no one to talk to here at times, I’ve lost some of my eye sight and it would be nice to be around those that know me better.”

A few seats away from Meekulu Rauha, was Pertrus Jacobus who described himself as the handyman of the home. Jacobus who is known as oom Koos moved into the home in 2015.

As he sat on a brown wooden bench that was in front of his room window where he was fixing his 4×4 motor car which he built from scratch by himself, narrated his story of how he fixed everything that normally broke around the home.

Oom Koos who is a very passionate mechanic explained that being handy around the home came natural as he enjoyed assembling broken objects as a hobby.

He however expressed his unhappiness in a humourful manner about the pension money the elderly receive from the governmet.

“I feel like the money is not enough, I want to buy myself a bicycle that costs N$ 3000, I definitely do not want to buy a bicycle for 1200 that would brake tomorrow on the road.”

Oom Koos explained that he has plenty of friends in the home one of them being 94 year old Lazarus Doeseb the eldest man at the home.

Doeseb sat a few rooms away from Oom Koos when The Lounge approached him. He was dressed in very dapper manner, a checkered formal shirt, a grey official pants, black cowboy hat and black shoes as if he were coming from a prestigious event.

Doeseb expressed that he was very glad to receive people as many people don’t really visit him much.

He continued to explain that he was not feeling too well, however he continues to live by God’s grace.

Doeseb who’s new to the home, highlighted that the living conditions are respectable and that they are well taken care of. He however remains worried about his sick wife.

“I visited her last week in hospital and saw that she was not doing well but I continue to pray for her. All I want for Christmas is for her to get better.”

Recognising the efforts made by the public and the home to support the senior citizens with essential care has proved to be of utmost importance. Families are however encouraged to continue taking care of the elderly as it is evident that at times they aren’t able to carry out tasks as they did before.

As many of the elders of the home may feel lonely sometimes they still find time to talk to each other as they all regard themselves as family.

In addition the old age home welcomes any voluntary service from the public to assist with the upkeep of the home and elders.




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