Everything you need to know about latest developments and restrictions affecting elders
A third Tafta elder, a resident at Tafta Park Care Cottage in the south of Durban, has been found to be Covid-19 positive following admission to a private hospital in Durban yesterday.
As part of the hospital’s pre-admission procedure, the elder, in her 80’s, was tested and results today confirmed her positive status. She will remain in the hospital.
Three care staff, two kitchen staff and the home’s sister, together with the eight frail elders in the Care cottage have been put into immediate isolation whilst they await results of Covid-19 tests. Full scale screening will begin immediately throughout Tafta Park.
The home will also immediately go into lockdown and the Department of Health have been contacted for further assistance.
These recent developments are devastating to Tafta and we appeal for the support of the community through thoughts and prayer as we navigate this difficult time.
If you have any queries regarding friends or family members residing at the facility, please contact the management team of the home or email email@example.com
[June 24, 2020]
On 22 June, Tafta Managment received news of a second elder testing positive for the Coronavirus. This elder has joined the first patient at the state quarantine facility in Clairwood. We await the results of four remaining elders who were tested and placed in isolation last week. To date, all staff have tested negative, but those who had contact with the infected elders have been asked to self-isolate with a new staff complement being rotated into the building to care for the remaining residents.
After much consideration and careful consultation with relevant health departments, we have made the decision to lockdown the John Conradie House/Langeler Towers complex from 25 June 2020. No one will be allowed out of the building complex for any reason, including work and scheduled appointments. No one, other than essential care services personnel, Tafta staff or members of health authorities supporting us in the management of the outbreak, will be allowed into the building.
These restrictions are necessary to contain and manage the spread and impact of the virus. Those who are unable to comply have been asked to seek alternate temporary accommodation until the Lockdown is lifted (at a date yet to be determined).
Elders opting to leave the building must leave their contact details for the track and trace process, should this be required. They will only be allowed back into the building complex when the lockdown has been lifted and will be required to self-isolate for 14-days on their return.
Be assured that the management team is doing everything in their power to ensure residents’ well-being. Please do not hesitate to contact building management or firstname.lastname@example.org should you have questions about family or friends.
We are in this fight together, and together, we shall overcome.
[June 24, 2020]
Our worst nightmare has just come true.
Yesterday, one of our residents at Langeler Towers tested positive for Covid-19. For over 600 elderly men and women who live here – and in the adjacent John Conradie House – it is devastating news. Everyone is aware that this is the age group most at risk from the disease.
Now we have to react quickly to ensure it doesn’t spread.
That means screening and testing a vast number of our residents, as well as all the impacted staff. We need to immediately set up a quarantine ward, with the necessary PPE … full hazmat suits, safe hazardous waste disposal bins and bags, extra hospital beds, extra gloves, N95 masks, sanitizing equipment and laundry services.
Very few of our residents have private medical aid – which means Tafta has to find the money for their tests … somehow … as well as everything else that’s needed.
Please help us respond to this urgent crisis, by making a donation of any amount right now.
Because the shocking truth is: if Covid-19 spreads through our Homes unchecked, elders are going to die.
These are men and women who still have a lot of living to do! They’ve patiently waited through weeks of lockdown, sustained by the belief that eventually they will feel their grandchildren’s arms around them again. Others have found new interests that have filled them with renewed vigour and enthusiasm for life. They ALL have plans for the future.
Please help us do everything possible to make sure those plans and dreams are realised. Your donation of any amount will make all the difference. It could even save a life.
Thank you for caring about those who are older and weaker than ourselves. They don’t deserve this deadly disease. No one does. Let us all do everything possible to protect our elders and help them through this crisis.
[June 16, 2020]
Ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June 2020, The Association for the Aged has issued a warning that elder on elder abuse may be triggered by Covid-19.
“Elder abuse is defined as ‘a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person,” explains Tafta CEO, Femada Shamam.
Tafta shelters up to 2 000 older people in 13 homes in the eThekwini region. Residents who are determined to exercise their freedom to leave the home and return hours later without taking the necessary precautions to minimise risk of conoravirus exposure could potentially harm, or even cause the death of, other more vulnerable residents.
“When we were informed of the National State of Disaster being declared, we took every necessary precautionary measure to ensure our elders, recognised as the most vulnerable age group, were protected from exposure to the pandemic,” Shamam said. “While some of those lockdown rules did translate to a loss of, and infringement of some constitutional freedoms, the context of a life threat was understood by all.
“In recent days however, with the constitutionality of the Lockdown being brought into question, we’ve started to face a new reality; perpetrators of abuse could be the elderly themselves, as those living beside frailer, less fit elders, choose to doggedly pursue their personal freedoms whilst potentially exposing others in our buildings to risk.”
“In facilities like our homes, elders enter into a contract with us to provide them with sheltered housing and care. They live in our homes with the understanding that they are allowed to exercise their rights whilst not infringing on the rights of others. But exercising those freedoms in a building where 599 other older people live, may result in the death of those with severely compromised immunities.”
This new challenge, she added, was cause for several disruptions at Tafta homes as a balance was being sought between those wanting to remain in restricted lockdown and those wanting to exercise personal freedoms.
“It is an area of deep reflection for us all as we realise that we must consider our own rights in the greater context of the wellbeing of all in society and not just ourselves. We are trying to meet the needs of all our residents, but it is a trying time indeed.”
[June 9, 2020]
In May this year, Tafta initiated an informal survey to assess the wellbeing of elders during the Lockdown. Of the 224 elders who responded to us nationally, we found that increased anxiety and fear were a real issue for older people.
Latest statistics indicate that over half (56,2%) of Covid-related deaths were in the 60-99 year age category. For many, increased anxiety translates to physical ailments, making this segment even more susceptible to the impacts of the pandemic.
The informal survey found the following experiences by the elder population were being experienced in society:
- 29% experienced Anxiety / restlessness
- 15% Sleeplessness
- 5% Lack of appetite
- 13% Tiredness
- 18% Sadness
- 20% Loneliness
- 7% feared Death of a friend/family member
- 10% indicated other stressors such as missing their family, lack of mobility and boredom.
While the country as whole is experiencing the impact of the pandemic, older people are the hardest hit.
Think for instance of the elder who lives alone, with no access to media, family or transportation? How would she know where to access food hampers, grants and other relief? Would that elder be trusting enough to hand money to a stranger in the hope that they would bring her what she needs? Think of a younger family member who has been recently laid off and goes seeking support from an older relative.
We are here to assist and there are ways in which we can support elders in our society. The Association for the Aged will be embarking on a two-month long campaign to educate the public on elders’ rights awareness, and seek public support to reach out to elders in need during the Coronavirus pandemic. With a view to extending into Mandela Month, the campaign aims to bring about conversation on the theme of how our actions impact the actions of others.
Included in the campaign line-up is the hosting of an online facebook live fundraiser and the organisation is seeking local entertainers to support them put this initiative together. If you would like to support them, contact email@example.com or call Kemmy-Leigh Moodley on 031 332 3721 now.
[June 9, 2020]