Pensioners' alcohol consumption a challenge in Kuisebmond

10 Mar 2016 11:50am
WALVIS BAY, 10 MAR (NAMPA) – Caregivers at the Kuisebmond Old Age Home in Walvis Bay have their hands full with pensioners who they say use their monthly pension grants to buy alcohol.
The matron in charge of the facility, Natalia Garoes on Wednesday told members of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Social Development and Family Affairs they are concerned by some of their inhabitants getting intoxicated on traditional brew tombo and traditional vodka and then getting up to mischief.
She said she is also worried about the effect it might have on their health as some drink to a point where they lose control of themselves.
“They go out to drink and when they come back drunk some of them bring along young ladies to sleep with. They also swear at us,” said Garoes.
The matron said a social worker was invited to speak to the inhabitants of the old age home last year, but this seemed to have little effect as nothing changed.
The parliamentarians, who are in the Erongo Region to assess the conditions of elderly people in old age homes, were also concerned about the situation, saying there is a need to implement some sort of control to avoid elderly people spending their little money on alcohol.
Senior social worker in the Ministry of Health and Social Services Adelheid Lekobane, who was at the meeting, blamed the situation on the Kuisebmond environment where shebeens are in abundance.
“The community and shebeen owners must stop selling alcohol to the elders. I am even surprised by some irresponsible family members encouraging pensioners to use their money on alcohol instead of discouraging them,” said the social worker.
Lekobane said some pensioners’ relatives want them to become intoxicated so they can get their hands on their pension grants.
In response, the standing committee’s team leader Petrina Haingura suggested that the pensioners should receive food vouchers instead of cash.
“If they do not have cash maybe it will be better, they can use the voucher to buy food and the rest of the money stays in the bank for other purposes. But this is up to Government to decide,” she said.
Garoes said another challenge might be the fact that there is no security guard at the old age home’s gate during the day, which makes it easy for the pensioners to leave the facility to buy alcohol.
She said she has tried recreational activities such as starting a vegetable garden, but the seniors were not interested. They however enjoy reading in the library.
The Kuisebmond Old Age Home has 28 inhabitants and two caretakers, including Garoes who is a nurse.
More than 70 pensioners have applied to be accommodated here but there is currently not enough space to accommodate more people.
After visiting retirement homes in Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay, the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Social Development and Family Affairs will proceed to Okahandja before visiting the //Kharas and Hardap regions next week.