At several old age homes, and frail-care centres, steps have been taken to protect pensioners who are particularly susceptible to Covid-19. Picture: Supplied
At several old age homes, and frail-care centres, steps have been taken to protect pensioners who are particularly susceptible to Covid-19. Picture: Supplied

Covid-19 lockdown: Old age homes take precautions to protect elderly

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Apr 18, 2020

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Cape Town - At several old age homes, and frail-care centres, steps have been taken to protect pensioners who are particularly susceptible to Covid-19.

Leon Courie, the general manager at Kensington Home for the Aged, is glad that no-one at the home has been infected, but fears the worst if it does happen. “We are dealing with the most vulnerable here. If one is affected, I honestly don’t know what we are going to do.”

He said some residents at the home had been under lockdown for years.

“Most of them are used to it It is the ones that go out to church and outside who are finding it difficult.”

He said board games and music were used to keep residents occupied and entertained during this time.

“We allow families to come and drop off things at the gate, which we then collect and sanitise. We encourage families to call more. We allow families to phone us and have video chats, because the residents are starting to miss their families. We are doing what we were told to do. We’ve been quite proactive in applying our hygiene protocols. 

“One of the challenges we are facing is the supply of masks, gloves and sanitiser, but quite a few people have come to our help. Most of our residents here have dementia. They tend to pull these things off (masks) when it becomes irritating for them. The workers wear masks and gloves throughout the day, and we’ve been doing that a week before the first announcement by the president.”

Staff members who live in the township have been placed on special leave. “Our Old Age Home is in the heart of Kensington and the

people who work for us come from hard socio-economic backgrounds, so we need to make sure they understand.”

Hassan Khan, the chief executive of The Haven Night Shelter Welfare Organisation, said not much had changed at their old age homes. However, the food supply from donors had been reduced due to the lockdown.

“We are experiencing challenges due to no shelter fee income as a result of lockdown. At the same time, our food supply is reduced due to less available food from traditional sources.”

He said they had implemented enhanced hygiene and restricted movement of people.

Neighbourhood Old Aged Homes (Noah) said it has developed a Covid-19 strategy. Director Anne Dobson said: “This deals with disseminating information to all Noah beneficiaries; new standard operating procedures; lockdown in all communal homes, access to meals/food vouchers/food parcels; the provision of hand sanitiser and masks/buff to all; access to a hotline, medication distribution and administering of flu vaccinations; regular check-ins via cellphone and visits of all beneficiaries.”

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