In most African cultures, children are expected to take care of their parents when they reach old age. However, modern urban life has made this impossible for many, especially during these difficult economic times.
There are several places in Harare that offer a safe and peaceful life for the elderly. The level of care and quality of the environment varies with price, and though the best care is likely beyond the reach of many, most elderly residents can find refuge at the old age homes below.
Many of the following retirement homes and old-age care facilities offer 24-hour support and health care while others provide moral support, a social space, and other elderly-specific assistance. Choosing one will depend on the needs of the individual.
The Flame Lily Trust in Marlborough offers affordable accommodation for those over 60 years of age. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from the local shops, so it’s very convenient. The price of stay here is $345 per month for a basic room, and $450 per month for a room and personal toilet.
Kundai Home Retirement Village in Greendale accommodates 25 people and provides breakfast as the only meal. Their rates for residents range from $200–$500 per month.
Those working on a more flexible budget can try BS Leon Retirement Village situated in Monavale. BS Leon offers 24-hour nursing services and separate wards to suit specific needs. A private referral hospital is available with a doctor on site and residents of the village are admitted for free. The village also has a ‘adopt a grandparent’ service which allows well-wishers to sponsor a resident. B.S Leon has packages ranging from $600 to $800 per month, depending on a person’s needs.
For those looking for facilities within a Christian environment, consider Nazareth House in Highlands. Located in quiet surroundings, this facility run by the Sister’s of Nazareth takes care of 20 frail care residents. Besides offering care and accommodation for the elderly, residents are also given spiritual support. Nazareth House charges $800 a month.
Athol Evans Old Age Home in Queensdale is administered by the Salvation Army on behalf of the Rotary Club. It caters for senior citizens providing respite and chronic care. For an elderly person able to do everything on their own, a package of $930 per month is available which goes up according to your medical condition. Braeside Social Complex is another facility for the elderly also run by the Salvation Army. Fees for this are determined after proper assessment.
The Dorothy Duncan Centre in Greendale used to offer accommodation for the elderly but has recently closed down. The Dorothy Duncan Centre Braille Library in the CBD is a library facility that caters to the elderly and the blind.
Bako Redonhodzo in Highfields caters for old people 60 years and older. This institution takes in people who specifically come from abject poverty free of charge. To qualify for residence, an individual has to first go through social welfare. The matron for the home, Sister Mukize revealed that currently there is only space for men as the facilities for women are now full to capacity.
The Darby and Joan Centre for the Aged in Belvedere, is part of an international charitable organisation aimed at sharing social amenities and offering moral support for the elderly. The Harare branch however, does not offer accommodation.
The Society for the Destitute Aged (SODA) was formed in the 1960s, to alleviate the plight of the aged. The founders would initially collect food and clothing for the elderly until the municipality gave them land to build accommodation. This volunteer-run organization allows its residents to grow and sell vegetables for personal financing.
In Eastlea, Fairway Homes offers accommodation and meals ranging from $645 a month while in Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Ways Home costs $700 per month with no medical requirement and accepts people at any age.
Most of the facilities for the elderly offer their packages upon medical assessment of the potential resident to determine the amount of care needed and their specific needs. These institutions provide a valuable service in our society, particularly in this economy and because a large number of the generation below them who would traditionally be able to take care of them, either now live in the diaspora or were wiped out by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Photo Credit: Hannah Mentz