Transformation of the social welfare service in the Western Cape: Geriatric day care as an/alternative to institutional care in Mitchell's Plain
This Research Report focuses on the services delivered to the aged in our society. In particular, it looks at two State-subsidised old age homes in Mitchell's Plain on the Cape Flats that accommodate about 350 people. The central argument is that the present facilities available to them are inadequate, raising the need for the exploration of alternatives to institutional care. The objectives of the study were fivefold, namely, to investigate the need for community-base d services within traditionally Black marginalised communities; to investigate service centres as an alternative to institutional care in line with the proposed ideas of the White Paper on social welfare; to investigate the extent to which the bi ological, social and emotional factors of ageing contribute to lifestyle changes; to investigate how service providers can contribute to the emotional and social independence of the aged; and to recommend how t he model of service centres as an alternative to institutions can be implemented in Black communities. The methodology used included documentary analysis, personal interviews and the administration of a structured questionnaire. This combination of research techniques provided the researcher with valuable insights into factual information as well as the opinions and perceptions of the aged themselves. Above all, the researcher drew on her work experiences with the two old people's homes. The Research Report concludes that although some aged displayed apathy with regards to the establishment of a centre for the aged, there was a definite need for Geriatric Day Care in general and in Mitchell's Plain in particular. This would release families of the burden of caring for the elderly and would prevent and cure diseases that are often associated with old age.