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The City’s home-based caregiver programme, now in its third year, is struggling to keep up with the demand from senior citizens who are frail or bedridden. Read more below.    

The City of Cape Town’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Directorate has recruited and trained nearly 400 people in this financial year to participate in its home-based care programme.

The Directorate started the initiative in 2014 as part of the Vulnerable Groups Programme, to lend a hand to elderly residents in need of assistance around the home, but also companionship. The home-based caregivers programme employs workers through the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) who render social care services through psychosocial support, companionship, housekeeping and light household duties as well as referrals to other social services. The caregivers offer their services to seniors in their home environment and at old-age homes, clinics and hospitals.In the first year, 2 580 elderly residents signed up for the programme. Last year that number more than doubled to 5 557. There has been a high level of interest again this year, prompting the Directorate to revise its target of 300 caregivers to 400. All of the caregivers have completed their training and have started providing services to clients.

‘The fact that we’ve seen such a demand for this service speaks to the vulnerability of many of our elderly residents – many of whom are no longer able to do things for themselves, like cleaning the house or even their personal grooming. I’m enthused that so many have taken advantage of this opportunity. Not only does it mean that little things are being done around the house for them, but it also means a break from the loneliness that many experience, especially those living on their own,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little.

The home-based caregivers are sourced from the City’s job seeker database and, after their recruitment, the caregivers undergo various training sessions. They receive in-depth training on the principles of home-based social care, etiquette, and proper conduct in caring for an older person in the home environment. They are also trained on how to identify older people in need through community profiling and to provide basic relief for family members of older people. Accredited first-aid training, communication and companionship aspects are also addressed with the trainees.

The home-based caregivers have been trained and appointed to offer the following services:

  • Respite relief for family members and caregivers of seniors
  • Companionship
  • Reading
  • Assistance in preparation of meals
  • Assistance with light cleaning and laundry duties
  • Referral of seniors requiring hands-on care or medical care to the districts for further support

Seniors are identified through a door-to-door survey. An assessment of needs is completed and client database is recorded. A weekly visit is then arranged by the home-based caregiver to provide the services to the senior citizen.

‘The caregivers deserve a special thank you for rendering this service. Home-based care is not an easy task, especially as some seniors see outsiders as a threat to their independence. In many cases the caregivers are also the ones who identify cases of abuse and assist with interventions to help stop this cycle,’ added Councillor Little.

Residents needing the assistance of a home-based caregiver can contact the Social Development Department district offices as indicated below:

District Contact person Location Contact number
Tygerberg Elmerie Voorslag 20 Voortrekker Road, Bellpark building, Bellville 021 918 7224
Klipfontein Yoliswa Galada 1st Floor, B Block, Athlone Stadium, Cross Boulevard, Athlone 021 444 2753
Khayelitsha Rosetta Dumpies Thusong Centre, corner of Kilimanjaro and Pyrenees Streets, Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain 021 417 0507
Mitchells Plain Mary Ann Bergman 1st Floor, B Block, Athlone Stadium, Cross Boulevard, Athlone 021 444 2926
Northern Sheree Visagie 1st Floor, Scottsdene Housing Office, corner of La Boheme Road and Eoan Avenue, Scottsdene 021 444 2719
Southern Elizabeth Pagel Corner of Second Avenue and Retreat Road, Shawco building, Retreat 021 417 4064
Eastern Malihle Mgushelo Ground Floor, Omniforum building, 94 Van Riebeeck Street, Kuils River 021 900 1683
Western Linda Petersen 460 Koeberg Road, Shop Number 1, Milnerton 021 529 4802
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