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Article in the Joburg East Express



Women’s home in dire need of some assistance

Gerald Fitzpatrick House and Nursing Home in Bertrams was established in 1933 for elderly women who were too old to earn a living but capable of looking after themselves. The home was a wish of Dean Palmer of St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral. Bessie Fitzpatrick honoured Palmer’s wish when her loving husband Gerald Fitzpatrick died

and donated their home in memory of her husband. Over 80 years old, the home is still a haven for elderly women. The home is divided into two sections: housing and frail care. The housing section accommodates 46 residents. These residents are independent and do all their own cooking, cleaning, shopping and laundry. A midday meal is available. The frail care section can accommodate 37 residents. They receive 24-hour nursing care and three meals a day. Like many non-profit organisations, Gerald Fitzpatrick is facing financial challenges. “We are under financial constraints and that causes us not to be able to meet all the residents’ needs. We try to prioritise but we need money to be able to run the place,” said home manager Patricia Mpala. She said for the home to be able to cover all the yearly costs, it needs about R5-million. The government subsidises the home but it’s not enough to cover all the costs. The home caters for women from disadvantaged backgrounds. Most of them have no families to look after them and they depend solely on the home. “Some of the women have no families to look after them and some are just dropped off and no one ever comes back to check on them. The home is all they have,” said social worker Caroline Magubela. Matron Mimi Mdlalose said, “It’s difficult for us to work. We don’t have a doctor on site. We have to take the women to the hospital, which is a challenge because we don’t have enough staff. We have been told we are in a danger zone and doctors are afraid to come to the home because of the area. Also, the ambulance takes over four hours to come to the home if there is a need. All

these challenges make it difficult to perform at our best.” Mpala said donations are really needed to keep the home’s doors open. “We appreciate the donations because they cover what we cannot. We appeal to the

community to continue donating because what we cannot use for the women, we sell in our charity shop as a way to raise funds for the home,” said Mpala. The home needs beds, furniture, a washing machine, non-perishables, toiletries and household essentials and its building needs refurbishing.

Contact Gerald Fitzpatrick Home on 011 614 9160 or email admin@gfhome.co.za


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