Tafta carers make a difference

2017-08-22 06:00
Memorial Zulu has been a care practitioner for 22 years.Photo: supplied

Memorial Zulu has been a care practitioner for 22 years.Photo: supplied

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A GROUP of dedicated caregivers work tirelessly every day to improve the quality of life for those who are often most neglected by society, the elderly.

Tafta care practitioners are purpose-trained individuals, equipped to ensure the well being of the elderly, but their role extends far beyond their primary duties - they are a source of comfort and companionship to those for whom they care.

Tafta provides quality care for approximately 300 frail senior citizens, who require constant assistance and are cared for on a 24-hour basis.

Fostering a culture of care, based on Tafta’s core values of compassion, respect, co-operation, integrity and service excellence, staff are expected to possess an innate desire to care for the elderly and the organisation’s care practitioners are known for displaying these qualities in their every task.

Describing the role as a call to service, these compassionate individuals say caring for the elderly is more than a job, it’s an opportunity to bring people joy and reassurance in their old age.

“Being responsible for the welfare of the elderly and working so closely with them every day brings so much of an emotional reward.
“In this environment we spend more time with them, giving them the opportunity to socialise and communicate with someone younger. I feel so inspired knowing I am making a positive difference in someone’s life,” says Memorial Zulu, who has been a carer for 22 years.

Samkele Mpanza has only been with Tafta since graduating from the carer training programme in January 2016, but knew that elder care was her calling. Apart from sharing a bond with the elders in her life, she says she’s taking the lessons she learns daily on the job back to her community to help them understand older people better.

“Culturally, I come from a place where when we would find elders talking to themselves, we believed they were possessed or even witches.
“I’ve come to understand through my experience about conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia and I am able to educate my community so we have greater empathy for elders in our community”.

Tafta introduced the care practitioner training programme in 2014 and has since produced a cohort of care practitioners who have committed themselves to putting the needs of thousands of dependent senior citizens before their own.

A three-month course including theory, practical training and written exams equips the carers with the knowledge and skills to proficiently tend to the needs of the elderly.

Tafta’s training also focuses on the humanitarian aspects of the role, instilling the importance of treating residents with kindness and dignity, knowing that for many residents a Tafta home might be their last home.

“Tafta recognises the need for well trained caregivers to assist the elderly, which drives our commitment to invest in skills development in this field. The training offers a dual benefit as it produces additional carers, which ensures that help is available to our elders, particularly the frail, and also creates job opportunities for the unemployed,” says Shamam.

For Mpanza, becoming a care practitioner not only provided her with a sustainable career, but helped her realise her eagerness.

“When I first heard about the care practitioner course I saw it as a wonderful job opportunity, but after going through the training and meeting so many passionate people, I came to understand that this field of work is a calling.
“I hope to now pursue a professional nursing career so I can take my care of the elders to the next level.” - Supplied


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