MARTHA MARAIS becomes emotional while recounting how she was cuffed to the bench at Mamelodi Day Hospital two weeks ago
Pretoria - Elderly citizen Martha Marais, who was chained to a bench at Mamelodi Day Hospital, was on Wednesday adopted by caregivers who form part of a programme for the elderly run by the Department of Social Development.

The 76-year-old will now receive specialised care from caregivers as part of the efforts of the Adopt-A-Gogo-Mkhulu Foundation, which operates in five regions in Gauteng and is the brainchild of the department.

The department launched the programme to assist with the protection of elderly people and to ensure early intervention in cases of abuse.

After hearing of her ordeal, co-ordinator of the programme Fraser Thabethe allocated a caregiver to Marais. She will now receive the caregiver's undivided attention on her road to recovery, which her family said had been slow.

Thabethe was part of the team that visited Marais on Wednesday at her Eersterust home.

He, along with other officials, heard from the horse's mouth how she was chained to the bench for complaining about a drip that had long been used up. The programme's caregivers provide hygiene services, and feed and medicate the elderly until late in the afternoon.

Thabethe said it was clear that the abuse of the elderly remained a challenge, with devastating effects on them. Elderly people had rights and it was imperative to ensure that programmes were designed to promote and protect their rights.

A caregiver on the programme who adopted Martha Siwa, 78, emphasised the plight faced by many elderly people today. 

She said the lives of elderly people had changed drastically over time.

“Factors such as migration by (their children and grandchildren), unemployment, substance abuse, moral degeneration, high mortality rates due to HIV, greatly impact on the quality of life of older persons in their twilight or golden years.”

Caregivers said the most common ailment they encountered among the elderly was dementia.

Pretoria News