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Care for the elderly

Durbanville Seniors’ Hub (DSH) received a kickstart to register as a non-profit organisation when 20 people signed up as founder members at its general meeting.

At the meeting on Thursday 14 November, Durbanville Lions Club also made its clubhouse in Queen Street (near Rosehaven) available for the next meeting of DSH on 23 January.

DSH is an organisation that strives to start a service centre and hub for seniors in Durbanville.

The constitution of the organisation was also discussed.

Surentia Snÿman of 1st at Home Care, chair of the steering committee, said the reasoning in South Africa is that aged people need to go to retirement facilities or frail care centres, while they can still live in their own homes with assistance.

“Developers build retirement villages and often make promises they do not always adhere to. The elderly need to know there are services and support available,” she said.

“We need a facility to go forward, and we need it now, but to wait for a facility to be donated, is not an option.

“We need to take a decision to go forward and kickstart the DSH and let it evolve around our needs,” she said.

Snÿman said the DSH should start as soon as possible as a social club that organises social events. 

She referred to the Potchefstroom service centre, which was started as a social club and evolved from there into a full-time centre for the aged.

“The big issues with the elderly is loneliness an isolation. The older one gets, the more your friends pass away and one may get to the point where you feel you are the only one left on earth,” she said.

“The need is now. The DSH does not have to be a building. We have also approached a retirement village in Durbanville and are negotiating to utilise some of its facilities”.

Snÿman said she is not saying South Africa is behind the times, but it is good and essential to share good practice and experiences from other countries”.

Georgie Bothma, retired manager of Green Pastures retirement village, said she lived in Canada and had first hand experience of how they operate there in day centres for aged people.

“Day centres help the aged to curb loneliness and isolation. The vision of such a centre is to offer interesting programmes and to encourage the elderly to overcome loneliness. Many elderly people are lonely because their children are abroad,” she said. 

Bothma, a retired accountant, offered to oversee the finances for DSH.

“To start, we need members,” Snÿman said. She encouraged seniors to join the DSH. The cost of an annual memberships is R150 per person.

“This will give people access to a data base of available services. People do not know what is available until they have a need, such as meals delivered at home, transport to the doctor or a shopping centre,” she said.

The next meeting will be on Thursday 23 January at the Lions Club in Queen Street, Durbanville from 10:00.

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