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Ron Smith Care Centre spreads Mandela Day cheer


Rand Aid Association’s Ron Smith Care Centre (RSCC) residents and employees celebrated Mandela Day this year by writing postcards and delivering sweets to residents and staff at Rand Aid’s sister care centre Thembalami and the Max Ordman Deaf Association (MODA).

Rand Aid’s senior nursing manager Avril Maltman and RSCC’s sister Leanie Bessinger delivered the postcards and sweets to Thembalami’s manager Esme van der Walt and matron Paulina Namo to hand out to residents.

In previous years, RSCC and Elphin Lodge retirement village residents and staff celebrated Mandela Day by gathering together for a knitathon. The knitted squares were sewn together to make blankets, which were donated to a charity.

This year, due to Covid-19 lockdown Level 4 gatherings and visits being prohibited, RSCC had to find a safe way to celebrate Mandela Day.

“Writing postcards engaged our residents and staff in a meaningful activity, while acknowledging our sister care centre’s residents and staff, who were also working on Mandela Day. The messages were written from the heart, with some residents even writing to family members,” says Avril.

“What was really special was watching RSCC’s River Lodge 3 residents, many of whom have advanced dementia, being able to put pen to paper to write their postcards,” she adds.

“The idea of reaching out to other older persons in the same boat is so in tune with our Eden Alternative philosophy,” says Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid’s general manager: services and advance division.

“It is empowering to not only receive care, but to also provide it. It shows that older persons, just because they need care, are not helpless and self-centred. They can think of others, who may also need a word of encouragement. They can understand how they feel and empathise with them.

“Due to Covid-19, everyone in a residential care facility has been so limited in terms of contact with the outside world and with friends and families. To know that there is someone else in the same boat and understanding how it is, must have been very nice for Thembalami’s residents to know, especially coupling this with Mandela Day and acknowledging the great sacrifices Madiba made during his lifetime,” she adds.

Beautiful messages

Some of the beautiful messages written to Thembalami and MODA were:

“Good people, I wish you well and am always thinking of you with peace and love. The heroes are those who make peace and rebuild,” said Mariane Duvenage, from River Lodge 1.

“Hello good people. Have a happy day, get well and be protected and safe. Love you lots,” said Dolly Luke, from River Lodge 1.

“To care for those who once cared for us, is one of the highest honours,” said Josephine Kew, from River Lodge 1.

“Happy Mandela Day. Enjoy your day,” said Megan Weeks, from Lakeside.

“On this very important day in South Africa, we remember our very great leader with love and respect,” said Rhona Burnham, from River Lodge 3.

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