High percentage of pensioners at homes 'never get visits' from their families

04 March 2020 - 11:27
The report said it was 'shocking' that 40% of the elderly never get picked up by family members for an 'outing'.
Image: 123RF/sondem The report said it was 'shocking' that 40% of the elderly never get picked up by family members for an 'outing'.

A high percentage of pensioners are placed in old-age homes without a single visit from their children.

This is what a report by Solidariteit Helpende Hande: “Tehuis vir bejaardes” found.

At least 450 elderly people from 50 old-age homes completed a questionnaire from Solidarity. 

Most of the homes that participated were in Gauteng, at 24%. The second-largest group was in the Free State, with 18%, followed by the Northern Cape, North West and Western Cape, with 14%.

The report found that 64% of the elderly people’s children lived close to them, while 20% lived in different provinces, 15% in other towns in the same province and 4% abroad.

The report found that 77% of the elderly at the homes were women.

At least 62% indicated that their children visited them and picked them up for “outings”.

The report indicated that it was “shocking” that 40% of the elderly never get picked up and taken for an outing by family members. 

It said 34% saw their children weekly and almost 30% had family visit them every month.

Only 6% see a loved one daily, while 11% never see or spend time with their loved ones.

The majority indicated that their families were their pillars of strength, while 35% indicated that their friends or the church supported them.

Only 16% indicated that their support came from the community and fellow elderly. At least 6% indicated that they had no support structure.

According to the report, 42% of pensioners were placed in homes due to medical conditions, including physical disabilities, mental disorders and Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The lowest prices were  R1,500 for a single room, R2,800 for a double room and R3,525 for a care unit.

These rates applied only to pensioners on social grants.

Some old-age homes charged up to R17,360 for a double room.

Most homes provided pensioners with adequate home care, books to read, geysers, heaters, stoves, grass parks and satisfactory safety.

All provided bible study. Activities at homes included music, needlework, concerts and excursions.

Monthly, pensioners spent their money on water bills, buying groceries and cleaning products. Those who participated in the survey said there was a need for bedding and mattresses.