The government has established a model home in Kirinyaga County that will serve as a rescue centre for neglected, abused and abandoned elderly people in the community.
The home which has a holding capacity of 45 persons is set to be operationalised by March next year.
According to the Director of Social Services Josephine Muriuki, the Sh47 million home is situated at Ngurubani town in Mwea, Kirinyaga County.
She said the government settled on establishing the home in the County after studies indicated that Kilifi, Kisii and Kirinyaga were leading in incidents of abuse for the elderly.
“In this county, our studies showed that the abuses of the elderly persons were triggered by incidents of inheritance of family properties especially land by their own children with some instances such parents being murdered,” she said.
The home now fully equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities will however see those admitted pay for their short stays as their issues got sorted out to enable them return to their normal abodes, according to the Director.
“The facilities in this home include single self-contained rooms with hotel-like facilities ideal for an elderly person requiring time in privacy, while other rooms can accommodate up to four people, depending on the need of such clients,” she said.
Speaking to the media after an extensive tour of the facility, Muriuki said it was earlier used as a Family Life Training Center for malnourished children and their mothers who would board for three weeks to improve on their nutrition.
“Now that this is a devolved function, we will eventually hand over the facility to the area County government which will oversee its day to day running. Those to be admitted will be from around Mt Kenya region,” she said.
The official also said modalities on the criteria for admission were being worked out as well as the payment rates to ensure sustainability of the project.
The Centre, she added, would also see those admitted gain from a poultry keeping project, banana farming and other related beneficial activities to the elderly.
“In order for the locals to feel they own the centre, the county government must ensure there is private sector and stakeholder partnership without which the mega project would only collapse before being operationalised,” the official cautioned.
It also emerged that the centre would be an ideal one for the Covid-19 isolation if the local county government so wished due to its spacious environment and location.
The centre, Muriuki explained, was modeled according to those in the United Kingdom and South Africa where her team went for bench marking before embarking on its construction last year.
The Directorate has also signed a protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in the Continent.
The official added that children would from now on be able to pay for a short stay of their aged parents through which such elders would be able to gain survival tactics and upon leaving the facility, they could manage life even without further support from the children.
By Irungu Mwangi