News coming out of Zimbabwe both before and after Christmas shows how desperate the situation for the old folk has become. Here is one report sent by a ZANE fieldworker in December last year.
We are now in an extremely busy time of year with assessments and renewals, deliveries to numerous people, visits particularly to vulnerable people who might possibly be lonely and alone during this festive season.
Christmas is, for many, a time of isolation and loneliness, especially those elderly people living in private homes on their own, struggling financially and perhaps ill. We aim to pay special attention to these people.
We visited and assessed Nancy C.* (73 years old) in her home. She had been referred by a friend saying she is struggling financially, is riddled with arthritis and urgently needs a knee and a hip replacement.
In the past, she would have received help with this from Bob’s medical fund, however, since Bob’s death last year, this is no longer available to us.
She is very thin and comes across as unhappy and helpless having made no plans for her future in any way at all since she stopped working 4 years ago.
She was divorced at least 20 years ago and half owns the house she lives in; the other half is owned by her ex-common law husband who lives in a cottage on the same property.
We will discuss her situation in our next staff meeting.
Each time we see John, he is a little less well and struggling with his breathing. He has emphysema and never complains but I know it is difficult even to walk from his room to the gate to open it for me.
His rent has been increased to US $100 p.m. which will be difficult for John as he is no longer able to do much work.
Mim seemed fine, but her rent has also been increased to US $100, leaving very little for her to live on. Mim never complains, however I know she is worried about this. She always needs to talk a lot and is comforted by our visit.
* Names and images have been changed to protect privacy.
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