The Midweek Sun
ADULT DAY CARE
New centre to care for vulnerable senior citizens If you want to go for a wedding for example, and you have an elderly parent who needs round the clock care, you can bring them and we care for them like at home
It’s been almost two months since the new Ray of Hope Adult Day Care and Boarding Centre located in Block 8 in Gaborone opened its doors. Founder and Director, Phumla Ngorosha told The Midweek Sun that it was a long time coming. The Centre offers 24-hour care, assisted living, independent living, respite care, skilled nursing and memory care.
Ngorosha explains that elderly people are prone to Dementia – a condition that causes them to be forgetful.
“Such a patient can even forget everything including their own children, unfortunately many who suffer from this do not get the care and support that they need,” she says.
Their work at the centre is to ensure that the elderly have meals and take their medications well and correctly, among other things.
“If you want to go for a wedding for example, and you have an elderly parent who needs round the clock care, you can bring them here and we care for them like at home,” she said.
They also plan to incorporate a Retired Club, where the elderly will meet to receive care and enjoy themselves together as elders.
“We are not a hospital and we do not offer medical services,” she
explained, adding that there is a difference between adult day care and a nursing home. A nursing home requires a license.
The long journey to finally establish this centre, which sits on the Cancer Association of Botswana (CAB) premises, started when as a nursing student she spotted a threeyear-old Autistic boy in Princess Marina Hospital and was moved by compassion. She made a promise to one day come back and adopt him.
She graduated with a Nursing Degree in 2005 from the University of Botswana and was posted to Mahalapye. The vow she made years earlier even though she was young, kept troubling her, and she went back for the Autistic boy.
The boy who had been abandoned at birth in the hospital had a Shunt in the brain and after intense assessments by medical professionals and social workers he was given only six months to live. He had to be fitted with a Hydrocephalus to drain excess water from his head.
“In the event that there were blockages, he would need to urgently see a Neurosurgeon,” Ngorosha says, adding that it was a trying time for her not only physically and mentally, but also financially.
She remembers how he would hit and scratch himself. He would also hit and slap everyone.
“I had to go through all that and at some point people labelled me a bad parent and all kinds of names. I even went through all emotions like anger and later had depression,” she says.
However, Ngorosha soldiered on until her son defied the six-month life expectancy and today is 22 years old.
Ngorosha is proud to share this story because it is the inspiration behind her accomplishment of the new Adult Care Centre that now stands ready to serve some of the most-needy members of the community.
Her ailing son made her think hard about opening a special needs school or care place, especially that children like him do not integrate well in society.
In 2017 she left her nursing job at Bokamoso Private Hospital to become a housewife. Her time as a housewife afforded her an opportunity to once again make plans for what she has always wanted to do.
She also remembered that when she was abroad in Ireland she worked as a nurse offering home-based care service to the elderly. “I then realised that I can actually start home care service in Botswana,” she said.
When she started in 2018, she realised that a lot of people did not understand what she was trying to do. She however persevered and eventually got clients that she would see in homes in areas including Gaborone, Lobatse,
Molepolole and Mochudi.
She would visit her clients in homes, assess their situation and determine whether they need a nurse or health care assistant.
Her greatest blow came during the Covid-19 pandemic when all her clients died, surprisingly, not from Covid, but other health conditions.
“Imagine what that did to us. We almost closed down but were saved by the same pandemic because we began to receive Covid patients, although my nurses were getting infected,” she said.
It was during this time that many people kept appealing to her to continue her care services. “Although finances were still not enough to start I decided not to just sit but to volunteer at CAB because I knew there was a need for my services anyway,” she said.
To her surprise, when she shared her dreams, CAB offered her a place to run Ray of Hope from. Ngorosha’s regret is that medical aid schemes have not yet embraced the idea of adult care services in Botswana.
This means that clients need to pay for services without financial aid though it is a needed service. In developed countries, services that they offer are covered by medical aid schemes and this makes it easy for families to get help.
This has been compounded by the fact that post-Covid, many families suffered financial blows when some lost their jobs, while others’ income was significantly reduced and could no longer afford services.
Other challenges include family dynamics in the homes where they offer services. “Sometimes family members cannot agree on whether we should be engaged in the care of their loved one.
“For example, some family members may feel that their daughter in law is relegating her responsibility of the care of her sick husband to the centre, when she should be the one taking care of him, forgetting that she spends time at work,” she said.
Ray of Hope Centre has qualified staff that is ready to care for the elderly who for a long time have been neglected.