MUTARE – Old people, including 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe and a number of his colleagues, should seriously consider joining old people’s homes.
These sentiments came out after a tour of old people’s homes in Mutare and Rusape.
Nelson Langeveldt, 78, a former artisan who now resides at Zororai Old People’s Home, said there is no need for Mugabe and others in his government to continue working full time at their advanced ages.
“Those chaps are old but surprisingly, they are still working — what for?” Langeveldt queried. “I suggest they go through screening and government retires them.”
Langeveldt feels older people should at least get a universal monthly pension to cushion them from the economic distress.
“These old people need some money of their own so they are financially stable.”
Elderly persons, according to Help Age Zimbabwe, are estimated at about six percent of the country’s population.
Help Age Zimbabwe’s Adonis Faifi said: “We are basically advocating for the introduction of universal pension for all older persons in Zimbabwe.
“We adopted the UN (United Nations) definition which says anyone 60-years-plus is classified as an older person. We are saying these should be able to get some assistance from the government.”
And Langveldt has all the reason to be miffed at his peers in government considering the scarcity of food at the facility.
The home’s matron, Blandina Mariko of the Roman Catholic Church urged government to help expand self-help projects so the home would get by. “If we could have money to have self-sustainable projects I am sure this will help us keep the home going well.”
At another facility, Makoni Old People’s Home in Rusape has 11 old people under its care. Twin James, a former farm labourer of Malawian descent, lives at the old people’s home although he feels there aren’t enough blankets.
“This place feels like a fridge,” he retorted upon being asked about the level of comfort in the home. Bernard Pedro, James’ home mate, also feels there is need to vary their relish as they often go for days on vegetables.
Portiphar Guta, the home’s chairperson, admitted things are tough and called for government support.
As it is, Guta says, the home is been administered by a few volunteers like himself and the generosity of the church and business community in Rusape.
“People are always generous and always eager and keen to come and support. But by and large, we are very happy, (with the support we get) from the church community, from the business community, from the Indian community in Rusape, and many other well-wishers, and schools.” – Weekend Post