Home opens affordable retirement centre

Mavis Koopman, Millie George and Elizabeth Samuels are field workers at the service centre.

Plumrus Retirement Home in Plumstead has established a seniors’ centre in Lavender Hill.

For R10 membership fee a year, the elderly have access to free clinic services, a meal, arts and crafts and more.

The centre is open from Monday to Thursday, from 9am to noon. It was set up in November 2018 but relaunched at a new venue, St Mark’s Anglican Church in Lavender Hill, on Monday February 10.

Rhodene Koense, the service centre’s project director, said the centre started with 35 members in 2018 and now had about 100.

“Not everyone can afford to be in a retirement home,” she said.

She said Plumrus had looked at how it could take the retirement home to the people.

“We also do take-away meals on Tuesday for some of the old people who are bedridden, but the idea is for them to come and enjoy their meals here. To connect and share their stories.”

She said many elderly were home-bound, either caring for their grandchildren or fearing to go out because of gang crime in the area.

Their pensions were also often used to support entire families so there was little left over for them to spend on themselves.

“We want to create a space where they can have the time of their lives,” Ms Koense said.

Martha Malkus has been a member of the centre since 2018. She is known by everyone as the “Glamourous Granny”.

With purple hair and a short bright red dress, it is hard to believe that Ms Malkus is actually 79.

“I do my hair myself. They just cut it at the salon, but I colour it myself. I believe everything is art,” said the retired nurse.

“I love it here. They treat us five star,” she said.

Ms Malkus said she had done her nursing training at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967, the year Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant.

“You know, Christiaan Barnard was an Afrikaans man from Beaufort West. He was very racist at the time, and I remember telling him after he performed the surgery that you couldn’t have done this without the help of these coloured nurses. I think when I told him that he was able to let go of a lot. I respect him because he brought us a lot of fame,” she said.

Ms Malkus also saved her husband’s life five years ago.

“My husband had an angina and I gave him CPR while waiting for the ambulance.

He passed away in the hospital but I was able to help him live just a little longer,” she said.

The service centre also organises trips for the elderly and has indoor sports games throughout the year.