Caregiver takes smiles as payment

25 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Caregiver takes smiles as payment Mrs Elita Manda

The Chronicle

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
FOR many, an 8AM to 6PM job comes with a salary at the end of each month but for Mrs Elita Manda, her reward are smiles on the faces of elderly people that she takes care of at Gwanda Old People’s Home.

Gwanda Old People’s Home

Mrs Manda (65) is a voluntary caregiver who is looking after five residents at the home.

She trained in home-based care and first aid in 1988 at the Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe in Gwanda.

In 2013, she took a decision to volunteer as a caregiver at the old people’s home after she found old people there cooking for themselves.

Mrs Manda’s duties involve cooking for the elderly at the home, cleaning their rooms, nursing them, doing their laundry, counselling them and keeping them entertained.

She wakes up daily at 7AM, leaves her home and heads to the old people’s home.

She knocks off at 6PM.

When a Chronicle news crew visited the old people’s home, Mrs Manda was having a jolly moment, chatting with the residents.

She said the old people’s home residents have become her second family.

“In 1988, I received training in first aid and home-based care.

After we completed training, we used to do some voluntary work under the Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe such as helping in the hospital or offering services during school sporting events and functions.

We also used to visit the old people’s home,” she said.

“During a visit, I noticed that the residents at the home were doing the cooking themselves as they didn’t have a caregiver.

I then volunteered to help at the home.

I was interviewed and I was appointed as their caregiver.

All along I have been working with another colleague but at the moment I’m working alone as she has other commitments.”

She said when she started working at the home in 2013, she found nine residents at the home.

Mrs Manda said she has watched as some housemates have passed on, mainly because of old age.

She said the passing on of a resident at the home is always a painful moment for her as it feels like losing a relative.

Mrs Manda said it also affects residents and in such a situation it is her duty to reassure the remaining residents and console them.

She regularly chats with the residents and reads the Bible to them in order to keep them entertained.

Mrs Manda also takes walks with the old people to keep them fit and energised.

Mrs Manda said being a caregiver, especially one for elderly people requires patience, compassion and love. She said voluntary work is her passion.

Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS)

“When I trained under the Red Cross of Zimbabwe, I wanted to help other people.

To me it doesn’t matter whether I get paid or not as my focus is to render service.

If I get something then that’s just a bonus for me.

Over the years I have learnt that in order to do my work well I have to be patient with the people I look after and love them,” she said.

“It’s not any easy task but I can manage it because I understand why I’m doing it.

Sometimes, I encounter cheeky and stubborn inmates.

Some can refuse to eat or to get bathed.

Men refuse to be bathed by a woman during the first days.

I always know how to work my way through all these challenges and get them on board.

Some of them will be mentally unstable because of old age and such cases are referred to Bulawayo.”

She said there are times when some of them get discouraged and feel that their relatives and families have neglected them.

Mrs Mande said she reassures them and ensures that they are in a good mental state in order to ensure their health.

Because of old age, some need to be bathed and dressed in diapers.

Mrs Mande said she mostly enjoys talking to the residents as they have a lot of stories to tell.

She said her work is a way of giving back to the community and helping those in need.

Mrs Mande said after every three years, she attends refresher courses with the Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe.–@DubeMatutu

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