Old-age home a hell of horrors

2014-10-26 09:05
Elderly woman's hand (File,  <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">Shutterstock</a>)

Elderly woman's hand (File, Shutterstock)

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Cape Town - Fifteen residents of an unregistered old-age home in Cape Town have allegedly died in the past five months amid allegations of gross neglect, reports the Sunday Times.

According to the newspaper, the deaths at the home, Serendipity, in Panorama, represent about half the number of residents.

A caregiver, a former cleaner and the daughter of a resident have however spoken out and said that wounds were left untreated, that bedsores and scabies were common and that residents were drugged or locked in the bathroom to keep them quiet, reports the newspaper.

In one incident, a staff member was ordered to use old food that had been put down for the dog and serve it to residents.

On Friday however, officials from the Health Department carried out an inspection in what was apparently part of the process for a licence that Roberts had applied for.

Serendipity meanwhile is owned by Sharon Roberts, who lives in Hermanus and reportedly leaves the pensioners in the care of workers who have no nursing qualifications.

Roberts has however denied that the residents have been neglected but acknowledged that the home was not equipped to care for the frail.

21 residents removed from home

This is not however, the first time an illegal old-age home has made headlines.

In April last year, News24 reported that twenty one bed-ridden elderly people were removed from a home in Maphumulo in KwaZulu-Natal.

At the time, Social Development MEC Wesizwe Thusi said:  "The elderly, all of them female, had been under the care of Masikane Christian Care Home for the Aged, which has been operating illegally."

She said the home forfeited its licence to operate as a non-profit organisation in 2010 when it failed to comply with regulations governing the Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) sector.

It had no running water, no electricity and residents had been kept in untidy and unhygienic conditions.

"Most of them were bed-ridden, had septic bed sores and required urgent medical attention."

They had since been moved to Umphumulo Hospital for medical check-ups and once they were discharged, they would be relocated to Zibambeleni Old Age Home in Clermont, Durban, Thusi said.

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