Medical students enrich lives of elderly

Occupational Therapist Letitia Delport helping a resident of Omega Old Age Home on Saturday.

Third-year medical students from the University of the Free State made the lives of residents at the Omega Old Age Home a little easier. Together the students were able to fix bathrooms, install railings and give the elderly exercise tips to better their quality of life.

According to group representative, Wynand Bezuidenhout, the aim of the visit to the old age home in Heidedal on Saturday was to give them a presentation of health tips and exercises. However, the project has been ongoing in order to make sustainable changes in the lives of residents.

“We took a multi-disciplinary approach which included help from a physiotherapist who gave exercises and an occupational therapist who helped residents understand the importance of using the new railings we installed,” he explained.

The third-year medical students spent their day at Omega Old Age Home in Heidedal. Back row from left to right: Norma Makwakwa, Jade Cummings, Leskhe Coetzee, Occupational Therapist Letitia Delport, Lauriska Pienaar, Laura Manyeruke, and Licham Hlotshana. Front: Wynand Bezuidenhout and Damons.

“As students we discovered that their sanitation was at risk as well as their health because of the likelihood of falling. We repaired taps, toilets and put in railings in the bathrooms and in the walkways,” added Bezuidenhout.

The visit is part of an annual project that third-year students need to take part in as part of their medical studies in order to have hands-on experience with community members. “We got to have hands-on experience of learning how to take care of people before we start our clinicals, which is going to be helpful when we finally do them,” said Licham Hlotshana.

The elderly were also given a presentation on the importance of eye and dental care in order for them to enjoy a better quality of life in their twilight years. The students donated a deep freezer along with much needed food supplies to the home’s kitchen.

Omega Old Age Home’s supervisor Martha McHarlies expressed their gratitude for the heart-warming efforts of the students. “We really appreciate what they have done here and we can already see the effects of the changes that they have made in our resident’s lives,” she said.

“I loved their appreciation for everything we did. When they sang us a thank you song, all the hard work was worth it,” said Mikayla Mostert, one of the students.

“It warmed my heart to see the joy that our efforts have brought to the people of Omege. Seeing the fun they had with us and the smiles they wore will stay with me forever. This just shows that sacrificing a little bit of time can make a big difference in the lives of others,” added group leader Jade Cummings. -Nomaqhawe Mtebele