The Rotary Club of Knights Pendragon recently provided a Christmas-in-July lunch for the ladies resident at the Gerald Fitzpatrick House for elderly ladies of limited means. This annual treat includes a hearty lunch of turkey, roast potatoes and vegetables with gravy, finished off with fruit cake, ice cream and custard. After the meal, the ladies are treated to a sing-a-long with Eileen on the microphone and Mervin on the piano. The repertoire consists of a long line of golden oldies to which there is much clapping and some dancing by the more spritely.
The Gerald Fitzpatrick House (GFH) was founded in 1929 in Bertrams, Johannesburg. The home’s primary purpose being to provide a self-sustaining, independent and secure home for elderly ladies of limited means, of which is currently houses some 77 elderly ladies. Most of the ladies only source of income is the R1710/month government social grant of which they contribute part to their food and accommodation at GFH, however, this is a token amount given the actual cost of running the home and taking care of these elderly ladies, with a number being in poor health. GFH therefore needs to raise some R600 000 per annum to keep the home operating and their 77 charges in a safe environment.
Growing old is not easy and a very sad aspect of the lives of many elderly in South Africa, is that they either do not have family members who can or will care for them, or merely visit them occasionally. In many cases their family have passed on or emigrated, leaving their elderly very much alone and often abandoned.
Most of us will face the challenges of old age in the years ahead and now is the time to pay forward, so that a culture of care for our aged is fostered by a larger part of the general population lead by our individual example. Please play your part in paying forward by visiting the GFH Website, understand what the financial and other support that the GFH need and determine how you can help. If your help cannot be material but in kind, how about “Adopting a Granny” without family and making a monthly visit just to chat to her?