Trust gives elderly hope

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Struggling old age homes supported to provide care for those who can’t afford it

WITH the cost of living rising dramatically and old age pensions and government subsidies failing to follow the rate of inflation, it is a stressful time for the elderly living in frail care facilities to make ends meet.

The Victoria Home Trust helps soften the blow to the elderly who struggle financially, by providing a R595 subsidy every month for them.

Established after the assets of the Victoria Home for the Aged were sold and invested in 1998, the trust has grown to assist 72 pensioners every month in old age homes across the city.

GRATEFUL RECIPIENTS: DJ Sobey Old Age residents, from left, James Abrahams, Nompumelelo Mjanga and David Richards benefit from the subsidy from the Victoria Home Trust , which helps pay for some of their basic living expenses Picture: SARAH KINGON
GRATEFUL RECIPIENTS: DJ Sobey Old Age residents, from left, James Abrahams, Nompumelelo Mjanga and David Richards benefit from the subsidy from the Victoria Home Trust , which helps pay for some of their basic living expenses Picture: SARAH KINGON

Chairman of the Victoria Home Trust Neil Cowie said: “Many [old age] homes struggle to balance the books because the cost per bed does not match the amount coming in from pensions and government subsidies.”

The trust assists those in greatest need of help at the Eldorado, DJ Sobey, Lily Kirchmann, Langham House and Fairlands old age homes. Acting manager at Langham House and Kennersley Park, Laurette Schafer, said 27 residents of Langham House were assisted by the trust on a monthly basis.

It costs R6070 per month to live in the home and most residents receive a government subsidy of R1700 and a R1500 pension, leaving them with R2870 to pay in.

“The government subsidy hasn’t increased since 2008, which makes it increasingly difficult for these people.

“With the current unemployment rate, families struggle to pay up the shortfall and the elderly barely see themselves through.

“People don’t realise that you are getting 24/7 care in a frail care facility,” Schafer said.

“We try to cross- subsidise from the Kenner-sley Park Housing division to assist with costs.

“Last year Langham ran at a R800000 loss,” Schafer said.

DJ Sobey matron Abigail Oliphant said the Victoria Home Trust assisted 14 people at the home.

“The donation each month is very helpful for us.

“We use the money to buy adult nappies and toiletries for those who have no family support.

“It costs about R4500 per person per month,” Oliphant said.

“With the subsidy from the Department of Social Development failing to increase since 2008 and prices escalating, it makes it increasingly difficult to run the home,” Oliphant said.

DJ Sobey board member Rodwell Fredericks said the home was reliant on fundraising initiatives and donations from churches, community members and business people.

Victoria Home Trust are looking for sponsors who can either commit to “buy a bed” for R595 per month to assist an individual, or make a donation which they can invest to assist pensioners.

Donations are tax-deductible and companies will receive a section 18A certificate.

“We aim to reach 90 people and after that we hope to increase the subsidy amount,” Cowie said.

He encouraged those who can assist to contact him on 083-265-5819 or e-mail him at: nwcowie@cowie.co.za

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