Felleng Masetlai founded the Khothatsong Old Age Centre five years ago and, from a rented church building in Phase 4 and Phase 5 in Bloemfontein, she feeds and comforts aged residents.
Masetlai and seven other women each contribute R100 a month to finance the centre and each elderly person who eats contributes R10 a month. The money ensures the availability of food from Monday to Friday. As more and more pensioners arrived at her doorstep for meals, she sought help from a ward councillor and the Department of Social Development, who gives the centre food and a monthly grant of R5000. Young people who have completed matric are employed to handle the admin.
“We pay a monthly rent of R500 at a Methodist Church in Phase 4 to operate from their hall and for safety reasons we also pay R150 at another place to store our cooking equipment,” said Masetlai.
Masetlai said she was concerned about health services for the elderly. “The nearest clinic is very far and the elderly walk long distances to get medication for their chronic illnesses. I’m also worried about the housing backlog because some elderly people live in shacks,” she said.
She called on the government to assist a 99-year-old woman who still lives in a shack.
The centre helps the elderly with exercises and other recreational activities like singing, sewing and dancing. Their greatest challenge is finding their own site to operate from. – Health-e News
An edited version of this story was published by Health24.