The reports from Zimbabwe are full of the distressing kind of news that comes from the worsening situation there which is being felt particularly by the elderly:
I visited and assessed Romaine (75) who lives in one of the retirement complexes. She was very excitable and angrily expressive and unhappy about having to ask for help for the first time in her life. Romaine was born, raised, married and had 2 sons in Eastern Europe.
In 1987, the family emigrated to Zimbabwe and Romaine worked for many years as an “A” level maths teacher for several private schools. She has a masters degree in mathematics and prides herself on being very bright and independent. This was a sad, difficult interview with many exclamations of indignation and anger, so I had to ‘tread carefully’ throughout.
Romaine has lost any savings she had and only has enough money left for 2 more months. In discussion with the team later, it was decided I need to see her again to further clarify our policies, particularly the need to contact her sons which, for reasons of pride, she does not want to do.
At one of the big Harare homes, I assessed (with the help of the administrator) Mark aged 47. Mark has lived there for 4 years and there has been no problem with him until fairly recently. He was hit by a truck when riding his bike at age 18 years and has been brain damaged ever since.
His functioning is ‘border line’ in that he can have a minimal conversation and walks with difficulty using a tripod cane. He is mostly pleasant with occasional angry outbursts and is cared for very well at the home.
His father died recently and had money in a trust to pay for Mark’s fees, however his third wife, has subsequently managed somehow to clear the money from the trust and has left the country. The administrator of the home is asking therefore if we can assist with Mark’s fees as there are no family members at all to help with this.
I did an application for medical assistance for Mike who needs help to have eye cataracts removed. He met me at the office with a staggering array of black and blue bruises all over his body, head and face.
A week ago, 4 men smashed the wall next to his flat in one of the care complexes, broke into the flat and beat, kicked and punched him for many minutes, stealing only 2 computers but finding no money.
He had to have many stitches all over his body and is still in a degree of shock. We are hoping that the care home will now be able to increase their security to protect these vulnerable people.
- Names have been changed to protect privacy
* Names and images may have been changed for privacy reasons
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Thank you – Nicky Passaportis ZANE Australia
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Donations made to ZANE in Australia, are tax-deductible.