Alcoholism Rife At Old Age Home

Caretakers at the Katutura Old Age Home are dismayed by the rampant abuse of alcohol by some pensioners living at the centre.

Briefing a delegation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social and Community Development and Gender Equality and Family Affairs of the National Assembly who visited the centre yesterday to assess the living conditions of the elderly citizens, chief caretaker Martha Rukoro said although there are many other challenges, alcohol abuse is the main concern.

“I have been here for the past 18 years and learned working with elders, but the only thing I cannot stand is the abuse I get from the elders when they are drunk,” said an emotional Rukoro.

Rukoro said some elders at the centre would go missing especially when they receive their pension money and reappear some time later in a very intoxicated state, making her task even more arduous.

According to her the centre’s doors open at 13h00 for elders to visit their relatives and they are expected to return at 16h00 unless prior arrangements are made with her.

“Although I have lost both of my parents they keep reminding me of them through swearing when they are drunk,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Swapo MP Agnes Tjongarero urged the pensioners to avoid the use of alcohol and set an example for society.

“Today we are faced with challenges such as the abuse of alcohol among young people but our elders are doing the same, yet they should lead by example,” she said.

“Please be responsible citizens and abstain from alcohol so that our young people can follow your example,” said Tjongarero.

When asked what problems they face, John Coetzee (63) who has been at the centre for three years said the only problem he has is that sometimes he is “forced to eat what I do not want to eat”.

“For example I don’t eat fish or pork but here I am forced to eat that because if I don’t then I have to ‘go stuff’ for the whole day,” he said, adding that when they inform caretakers about their eating habits they are told they cannot get special treatment. Currently there are 23 elderly citizens at the centre of whom 13 are males and 10 females and five positions at the centre are vacant.

Elso Holdings donated 50 packs of toilet paper, 100 litres of dishwasher and 80 litres of Handy Andy to the old age home.

The delegation consisted of Lucia Witbooi, Agnes Tjongarero, Ben Ulenga, Sophia Swartz and Theopoline Mushelenga.

Source : New Era