Crippled by Covid-19, three Cape old age homes set to close
CAPE TOWN - The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged (CPOA) so hard financially, it has to close down three of its care homes.
Residents in surrounding areas are up in arms, with simultaneous silent protests organised by community leaders held outside CPOA facilities in Bonteheuwel, Bishop Lavis and Heideveld on Monday.
The protesters are determined to stop the closures from happening, community leader Moerieda Moerat told the African News Agency (ANA).
“There are many of the elderly who are frail, blind, disabled and have mental issues. We have tried taking this up with management because we want to know whether their families were notified?” she said.
“Are they following Covid-19 protocols when moving these residents? Have they followed up in terms of engaging with the community as these seniors have become part of our lives?
“You cannot just decide for those people to move them,” Moerat added.
CPOA says the pandemic has had serious financial implications for the non-profit organisation, including additional costs for personal protective equipment for all facilities, strict sanitising requirements as well as loss of income, forcing it to review its operations.
“CPOA has decided it must close three of its five welfare homes,” it said in a statement.
“This decision was not taken lightly, but the ongoing financial pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic has made it very clear that operating five sub-economic welfare homes with a combined annual deficit of R33.5 million (US$2.2 million) is financially not sustainable for the company.”
Despite the national department of social development providing subsidies over the years, accumulated losses for CPOA’s welfare homes over the last 10 years were at R265 million, it added.
The homes to be closed down are Nerina Place in Bishop Lavis, Lily Haven Place in Bonteheuwel and Oakhaven Place in Heideveld, all of which are situated in high crime areas, posing a risk to both staff and residents.
CPOA said it had made contact with the families of affected residents via a letter sent on December 7. Nursing managers and social work departments were in constant contact with families, although in some instances next of kin could not be located or had not responded to correspondence.
“The process has now begun to engage with the 300 affected residents and their families. Proper counselling will be provided by the CPOA social work department and all of the residents will be re-accommodated in the remaining CPOA welfare homes,” the organisation said.
CPOA said it was prepared to donate the premises of the three homes set to close down -- as well as all furnishing and other content -- to non-government organisations so they could continue to be used as retirement facilities or for other welfare services.
“We recognise that this is a tough decision, however, we would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm CPOA’s welfare commitment,” chief executive officer Dr Michael Zipp said.
“The company will continue to operate, manage and fund welfare retirement homes at Erica Place and Lotus River Place which together have 200 frail care beds and both are in lower crime areas.”
Five residents at a time will be transferred to alternative facilities to ensure a smooth transition and the process is only likely to be completed by the end of the year.
African News Agency