Department of Construction Economics
Margrieta Ackerman Tehuis
Ridhwana Khan (Quantity Surveying)
Stephanie Gessl (Quantity Surveying)
Margaretha Ackerman Tehuis Contact Details:
464 Vom Hagen Street, Pretoria West
Phone: 012 327 4358
For our community service we decided to go to Margaretha Ackerman Tehuis. This home for the elderly houses more than two hundred people who range from Alzheimer's patients to average joe's who can no longer stay with their families. We arrived looking to pinpoint the problems that the elderly face in homes such as this as we attempted to make their stay a liitle bit more bearable.
We found that a lot of the people in this facility suffer from depression as their families no longer visit them, they cannot communicate with their families or they simply don't have any.
Our mission was to try and open the lines of communication that the elderly had lost with their famiies and if we could not do so, to provide the friendship they so desperately desired.
On the 13th of May we made our first visit to Margaretha Ackerman te huis. We arrived to a warm welcome where most of the residents were keen to have us speak to them and get to know them. the sister in charge, Sister De Jager was our supervisor and took us around the home, introducing us to many of the people in each wing of the home.
We saw that the women were separated from the men and that the frail care residents were separated from the healthier residents. We decided to spend most of our time in the ladies healthy ward as they were the easiest to talk to and we felt we could really make a difference by teaching them something that they didn't already know.
A lot of the patients in the frail care ward were quite difficult to teach as they struggled to remember a lot of the information they recieved, and seeing as we had no formal training as nurses, it was difficult to feed them etc.
We slowly got to know some of the ladies, asking questions about family, where we could aid them and what they missed that we could perhaps fulfil. It was difficult seeing their sadness as they explain how little their families visit. It was obvious to us that the best way we could contribute was to provide the conpanionship they so desperately desired as well as a few things they could use to decorate their rooms with.
It was heart warming to see how once we had started a conversation with one of the ladies, another was calling us to her room where she could tell us about her family too.
When we finally had to leave it was sad to see how many we had't even spoken to yet but hopefully there would be more time for that next time
On the 13th of July we made our second trip to Margaretha Ackerman. We arrived to a friendly welcome where a few of the ladies and gents that recognised us came to say hello and asked what we were planning to do that day. We walked down the main passage and had a look at what we could do that would make their rooms a little bit more interesting. The first thing noticable when you see the rooms is that each of the residents has a ceramic tile with their names on it glued to their doors. We decided that we would make the name tags more colourful by making a frame for the tiles.
We started out by cutting strips of coloured paper with craft scissors to give an zig-zag effect. Once all the frames were glued together they were ready for the creativity.
From flowers to stickers, we decorated each of the frames individually, making them colourful and playful while attempting to catch the interests of the individual people. What probably should have been a quick exercise ended up taking quite a while as a few of the ladies such as Rina showed off previous crafts that they had made, as every Friday a woman takes them for a craft lesson. From tissue holders to flower pots, we got the grand tour. It was a real eye-opener to see how something as little as a piece of fabric with a few decorations glued onto it, was so deeply appreciated by all of the people that attended the craft meetings.
If only more people would give their time and sit patiently with these people. They really are amazing and are only looking for friendship and someone to make them feel like they're still worth something.
One thing was for sure, we had definitely learnt that we could never imagine one of our family members in a place like this.
After all said and done, we hadn't managed to finish our frames. That would have to wait until next time....
We arrived early on a friday morning to the welcome of the familiar faces of Margaretha Ackerman. The task for the day was to try and finish the frames we had started on our last visit.
After greeting the friends we were now starting to make, we started gluing the glitter, stars and flowers onto our frames. Different colours, shapes and ideas were flying around the table so quickly we could barely find anything and just when we thought we'd have the whole morning to ourselves, the usual mass of people arrived to greet and show us what they had made that morning in the craft session.
After a discussion with the craft co-ordinator on how she struggled to think up things for every craft session, we came to the conclusion that doing some creative every week was a near impossible job... we were struggling already and we had only been on three occasions .
When we finally got the time alone to finish the frames, it was time to leave again. Most were done but some still needed the finishing touches. Those would have to be completed at home so that next time we could do the calendars we had planned .
An idea of ours was to make some calendars for the ladies of Margaretha Ackerman Tehuis. A lot of them struggle with remembering the days so we thought allowing them to have a calendar that they could change the dates of themselves would help them keep track of time a little better.
We actually got the idea from one of the ladies who sadly passed away before she could get one of the calendars. R.I.P Elaine.
The calendar creation had to take place reagardless and many an hour went into making the numbers and headings, printing, laminating, cutting and decorating the backgrounds.
Today was the day we would put all our hard work to good use; the handing out of our frames and calendars. Early on this Friday morning, we arrived to happy faces who all remembered the last time they had seen us and complained that our visits were far too infrequent for their liking . It was going to be a long and busy day as our frames and calendars were to be handed out..... finally!
Organising the numbers, days of the week and months into their respective folders was the first order of business for the day. After the ladies had finished their lunch we made our way to their rooms, asking which frame they would like outside of their doors. WOW! It was a mad rush as some tried to get us to their rooms whilst we were still busy with others. I guess they just couldn't wait any longer!
Thankfully, the frames were soon organised and the ladies settled. Now was the time to hang the calendars. We decided that one would go in the main foyer so that all could benefit from its use. The rest were divided between whoever was really in need of the one.
In earlier visits it was quite rewarding to see how much the ladies looked forward to our returns, but for the first time we really saw how thankful these people, who we now call friends, are for not only having somebody make their lives easier, but for taking the time to visit them. It is so heart warming to see their faces light up as they receive something that truely makes their life a little better.
JCP 2010 was absolutely worth the time and effort we put in. Initially it didn't seem like it would be justified but after today we could see why it was included in the syllabus. It was rewarding and fun and completely unexpected in a good way.
Unfortunately though, it was time for us to leave. It was a sad goodbye as we left the ladies of Margaretha Ackerman.... we had made good friends and decided that although our JCP duty was finished, it would not be the last time we were to visit. The next time we go it will be because we truely want to keep it up, not because we have to.