The Sh13 million refurbishment of Alms House, Nakuru’s 73-year-old home for the elderly is complete.
The facility sandwiched between Manyani and Kivumbini estates had been neglected for more than 40 years.
Alms House has been a rescue centre for the neglected and poor elderly residents. Some of them are brought in from police stations and others are dumped at the entrance of Alms House by relatives.
According to Governor Susan Kihika, the home that currently accommodates eight elderly men and women will now house 27 people once the newly constructed block with four modern cubicles is commissioned.
The spacious and self-contained modern cubicles that have hot showers were constructed at a cost of Sh6 million.
In her remarks during celebrations to mark International Day for Older Persons that were held at the facility, Kihika said her administration would continue ensuring the senior citizens peacefully enjoy their sunset years.
“The County Government of Nakuru is committed to continue protecting and giving reasonable care to older persons in the county. Alms House continues to play a significant role in the protection and care giving for the most vulnerable older persons in the County,” noted the Governor.
As part of the reforms being undertaken at the Alms House, the devolved unit has employed a graduate manager. The refurbished facility is equipped with a modern kitchen, laundry and a caretaker office which were constructed at a further cost of Sh7 million.
The County Government has also appointed a board of directors which will organize its own fundraisings to ensure the home does not depend on the exchequer.
The former Municipal Council of Nakuru which used to manage the home allowed the land belonging to the home which used to be more than seven acres to be encroached on under its watch.
Records available at the Nakuru Lands office indicate that most of the encroachers who have erected permanent structures on the grabbed land are former civic leaders and employees of the defunct local authority. The Governor said her administration was fast-tracking the recovery of grabbed land.
“We have held a series of meetings with the Lands department who have agreed to help us recover the grabbed land,” said Kihika, adding that they would meet private developers who have encroached on the land before issuing them with eviction notices.
The compound was neglected with overgrown bushes, while the rooms that housed the elderly and the toilets were in deplorable state. The home also has permanent male and female caretakers.
Prior to commencement of works, the county government engaged an expert with vast experience on the welfare of the elderly before endorsing the plan. The new toilets are elderly-friendly while the sockets and other lighting in the rooms are easily accessible to them and the bathrooms are very spacious.
Plans are underway to equip the facility with a recreational centre and, in future, a health centre will also be built.
Kihika said the county has already put a policy for admissions and also for visitors. “We want to monitor all visitors to ensure our elderly are safe and comfortable. We will admit only very deserving cases after due verification,” she added.
One of the residents, who identified himself as Robert, welcomed the facelift saying it has afforded them a healthier and comfortable environment.
Another, 79-year-old Douglas said he had been at the home for the past four years. “I was homeless and in poor health but since I came here, am in a better condition as I have been taken to hospital,” said Mr Douglas.
By Anne Mwale