Providing a home, health and happiness to the elderly citizens of South Africa’s Mother City is the main focus for Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (NOAH).
Neighbourhood Old Age Homes is a non-profit organisation working to provide elderly people in Cape Town with access to affordable healthcare facilities, a place to live and the space and resources needed to “age actively”.
NOAH was established in 1981 when Catholic Welfare & Development – a non-governmental organisation that works to help communities combat poverty – acted in response to the need for safe and affordable accommodation for pensioners.
“Given the stats relating to our rapidly ageing population, there is such a desperate need to expand the services of NOAH – this puts fire in our belly,” says Anne van Niekerk, the director at NOAH.
“NOAH is an effective, efficient and cost-effective model and there is an urgency to replicate it in order to meet our challenge.”
Through a partnership with the Department of Health the organisation makes health care easy and convenient for older people.
It runs a primary healthcare clinic in Woodstock that is manned by a trained nurse and a sessional doctor.
Around 200 NOAH members and local pensioners frequent the clinic. Clinic members pay a R30 monthly fee to help cover running costs.
The residents in Atlantis are members of the Woodstock Clinic, and the health of the Stellenbosch residents is overseen by a nursing sister who is a member of the NOAH Steering Committee.
Noah provides accommodation for pensioners, taking into consideration their frailty, age and mental state.
For those people who are still fit and able to care for themselves, the organisation has 13 independent houses, where they contribute towards the upkeep of the household. They pay an average of R400 a month, which includes their clinic membership fee and a contribution to household expenses such as electricity, cleaning, municipal bills and general maintenance. The Department of Social Development also subsidises the running costs of these houses.
For those more fragile and dependent, NOAH has an assisted living home in Woodstock, where the tenants live under supervision with carers helping to look after them.
“Apart from Woodstock and Khayelitsha, we have homes in Atlantis, Ida’s Valley, Elsies River, Parow, Athlone, Rondebosch East and Maitland,” says Van Niekerk.
She adds, “The most rewarding part of the job is seeing the impact of a safe and affordable home for someone who is in desperate need.”
The organisation stresses that the houses aren’t frail care institutions; pensioners who suffer from severe dementia or are unable to spend extended hours without care are not catered for at the homes.
To provide social interaction to stimulate the residents, and promote them being active, the organisation runs a number of clubs.
Woodstock members can join a garden club, craft club or exercise group, and in Khayelitsha there are a number of socialising clubs, all within walking distance of the homes.
PLAY YOUR PART
In order to fund the organisation, NOAH offers an ‘adoption’ scheme; patrons can adopt a home, housing up to 14 people, at R50 000 a year, and have it branded to their specifications.
A donation of R80 a month, or R875, a year pays for a single patient’s primary health care at the NOAH clinic and other sums contribute to maintenance on their homes.
To find out more about NOAH or to talk to the facilitators, email them, or call them on
+27 (0)21 447 6334.