Introducing Occupational Therapy into the aged care homes is helping pensioners find purpose in their lives following the loss of their life partners and having to leave their home and friends and everything and everyone they know and settle into a new environment with strangers.
Recently Jane* had to undertake a huge move for an 84 year old and relocate from a residential home in Harare to one in Bulawayo as this would put her much nearer to family support.
With great difficulty she packed up a life she had known for decades and her daughter drove to Harare to collect her. She moved into a very nice room at one of the homes but quickly became depressed and unhappy as she simply did not know anyone and had forgotten the art of making new friends.
Luckily, ZANE has quite recently introduced a programme of occupational therapy at some of the homes and a quiet word was put to Jane’s daughter who arranged for her mother to be wheeled over to a regular weekly session in the common room of the home where she lives.
To start off with, Jane sat quietly in the corner and did not participate much but as the weeks passed, she has begun to come out of her shell and now she has made firm friends with 80 year old Molly* and together they enjoy painting, decorating glass jars into pretty vases and then filling them with flowers.
It is a chance for them to chat and get to know some of the others who attend and it has had a huge impact on everyone in this group and many others like it.
To Jane’s daughter it has been a wonderful miracle that her mum is back to enjoying life after the traumatic move. For ZANE staff it has been a happy affirmation of the amazing work they do.
This programme of occupational therapy relies entirely on donations of all the materials – paints, paper, glass jars, fabric, knitting wool and anything else that can be used to be creative.
ZANE’s work is about so much more than simply providing financial aid. We give comfort, advice and companionship ensuring that the elderly people we help feel supported and able to cope with the challenging situations facing them. Every single elderly person supported by ZANE is visited regularly and known personally.
We can only continue this vital work with the support of generous donors and we thank all of you who continue to help us.
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* Names and images have been changed for security reasons.