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Nakuru's 71-year-old home for elderly to get major facelift.

As you enter Nakuru's Alms House, a home for the elderly, you might be forgiven to think it is the main entrance to Manyani estate, which is a classic example of poor urban planning in the cosmopolitan town.The densely populated Manyani slum is probably one of the most risky slums in Nakuru town as it is home to organised gangs.

There is no gate to Alms House, which is supposed to be a comfort zone for ageing citizens in their sunset years, and this has exposed them to dangers and insecurity lurking around the noisy and messy neighbourhood.The stinking and congested drainage rings the facility and is now a breeding ground for mosquitoes that terrorise the senior citizens.

At the same time, an overgrown bush has dwarfed the home.The home has no perimeter wall and, instead, the bush around it acts as a porous fence and a hiding place for rodents.

Negligence over the years is evident even in the washrooms which have broken taps and old plumbing work that has reduced Alms House into an eyesore.The 71-year-old facility, sandwiched between Manyani and Kivumbini estates, which are home to a terror gang popularly known as Confirm, sits on a three-acre piece of land.

LAND GRABBEDOriginally, the land was about seven acres but a huge chunk has been grabbed and the elderly have been left with no much space on which to stretch their limbs.But there is hope now as Governor Lee Kinyanjui's administration is set to give the home a major facelift and make it a model abode for the elderly.

Nakuru County Chief Officer for Gender, Culture and Social Services Tume Abduba said the home has been a rescue centre for the neglected and poor elderly residents."Some of them find themselves in police stations and others are dumped at the entrance of Alms House by relatives," said Ms Abduba.

SPACIOUS ROOMSShe lamented that in the past, money had been set aside for the home but not much has been done."Under the leadership of Governor Lee Kinyanjui, we have decided to give the home a major facelift and in this financial year, we have set aside Sh6 million to construct spacious and self-contained modern cubicles that will have hot showers," said Ms Abduba.

She said the county government consulted an expert with vast experience on the welfare of the elderly before endorsing the plan."The new toilets will be elderly-friendly while the sockets and other lightings in the rooms will be easily accessible to them and the bathrooms will be very spacious," she added.

CARETAKERSThe home will also have permanent male and female caretakers.She said the Department of Lands will soon mark the houses that have been built on Alms House's land for demolition.

"The county is determined to secure back the original land for Alms House," she said.In the second phase, which will be implemented in the next financial year, the county has set aside Sh7 million for building a modern laundry and a kitchen.

The home will also have a recreational centre and, in future, a health centre will also be built.BOARD OF DIRECTORS"We have already identified a manager to run the institution and appointed a board of directors which will organise its own fundraisings to ensure the home does not depend on the exchequer," said Ms Abduba.

She said the county has already put a policy for admissions and also for visitors."We want to monitor all visitors because some visitors do not mean well for the elderly," she added.

She said in the next three years, Alms House will have a complete makeover and will be home to both the needy and not so needy but elderly."We are going to open it up for private individuals who want to bring their elderly parents whenever they travel outside the country and they will pay a monthly fee for maintenance," said Ms Abduba.

MORE SPACEThe refurbished home will have a designated walkway and a parking bay.Nakuru County Administrator in charge of Social Services, Mr Kennedy Mungai, said the home currently accommodates nine men and three women.

"We want to expand the home by constructing four more cubicles which will hold four individuals (each) and increase the capacity to 24," said Mr Mungai."In the next financial year we are proposing to spend Sh7 million to construct more units," said Mr MungaiOne of the residents, Mr Daniel Bill Oketch, said he has been at the home for the past two years.

"My sight was fading away but since I came here I can now see well as I have been taken to hospital," said Mr Oketch.Mr Douglas Mwangi Gikonyo, 82, welcomed the planned refurbishment, saying it will give them more freedom and a friendly environment.
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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jun 28, 2019
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