Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (NOAH), a Cape Town-based independent living facility, offers a unique solution to the aging crisis by creating a space where the elderly can live with a sense of purpose and belonging.
Driven by their vision to create thriving and healthy communities for the elderly, NOAH offers access to communal housing, health services, community building, and social enterprise and development, allowing their beneficiaries to live with a greater sense of freedom.
CREATING THRIVING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES FOR THE ELDERLY
Nicky Jacobs, the sustainability leader at NOAH says their target market is people between the ages of 60 69 years whose only income is their pension from SASSA.
Jacobs says: “NOAH has two facilities. In Khayelitsha we have a center where we have about 88 members who come to the facility and in Woodstock, it’s more residents, but we also have a few members.”
Food garden Khayelitsha member
NOAH has four programs, each one offering a unique benefit to each of their members – Home, Health, Happiness, and Social Enterprise and Development.
Jacobs says: “For each of those programs targeted at our beneficiaries Home is where we have 12 houses currently in and around Cape Town, where a maximum of 13 to 17 residents live in a communal environment independently, with a community kitchen where they can get food from.
“This model is very unique because it is independent living and we have about four frail people, but don’t offer frail care. What we do have as an add-on is one or two caretakers who will assist them, but we do not take frail people. Our beneficiaries are very independent; they work within NOAH in our various social enterprise development programs.”
PROVIDING HEALTH AND HAPPINESS
Then of course there is the Health program. NOAH has two clinics – one in each of their service communities.
“We have two doctors, one in Khayelitsha and one in Woodstock where our residents can see the doctor if need be and they can also get their medication at the same clinic,” says Jacobs.
The Happiness program includes various activities from bingo and karaoke to therapy sessions with a social worker who visits all the homes once a month.
Jacobs says: “We call this ‘safe circles’ where they have talks about any issues or problems, because it’s not always sunshine, we’re all different.
“With different personalities coming into a communal house there will be some differences, but we try to align that and ensure that issues don’t linger, it gets sorted out and people can be happy, content, and at peace with each other.”
The fourth leg is Social Enterprise and Development where members can work in one of the thrift shops to make some extra cash.
“We have two shops, we call them Selling Seconds thrift shops. Most of the time we partner with retail outlets and we get rejects on a monthly basis,” says Jacobs.
“It’s really quite a thriving business and again the beauty of this is that that our elders work in these shops so besides their SASSA pension it’s additional income for them
“Then we have the Corner Campaign, a coffee shop which we recently opened. We’ve got full-on WiFi and again it’s such an amazing initiative because our elders work there.
“They are the ones who will make your lunch and the unique thing about that is the fact that there’s youth working as baristas now the exchange of conversations from the 2 generations. It’s a connection that works so well.
NOURISHING LIVES WHILE EMPOWERING THE ELDERLY
FoodForward SA Donations
NOAH has been in partnership with FoodForward SA for more than three years – a partnership that Jacobs describes as an “absolute blessing”.
“The big monthly donations from FoodForward SA feed mouths and it helps tremendously from a financial perspective,” she says.
“The monthly collections are an absolute blessing to each of our beneficiaries, the community kitchen as well because they cook with the food for our residents. We really are grateful!
Jacobs concludes: “A society that does not value its older people denies its roots and endangers its future. Let us strive to enhance their capacity to support themselves for as long as possible and, when they cannot do so anymore, to care for them.
Donate and help FoodForward SA continue to support organizations like NOAH that provide holistic community care.