Home celebrates 90th anniversary

Brown and Annie Lawrence home residents, Lorraine Teat, left and Jean Mayall.

A Pinelands old-age home, which was officially opened by a British royal in 1930, is still going strong.

The Brown and Annie Lawrence home for senior citizens celebrated its 90th anniversary on Friday February 21, and held a mini fete and tea garden the next day.

This non-profit home was established in accordance with Brown Lawrence’s wishes, which are recorded in this extract from the organisation’s archives: “My object in establishing this home is to allow aged ladies and gentlemen, whether married or single, to have comfortable homes with proper food, clothing, medical attendance and anything that may be necessary for their comfort in their old age when unable to help themselves.”

Princess Alice, the wife of the Earl of Athlone, governor general of the Cape, opened the home on February 21,1930.

According to general manager Helen Matuszek, the home accommodates 65 residents.

“This job of managing the home is very busy, though the part I enjoy is the people relationship, to build relationships with people coming to the home and accompanying them on their final journey.”

Ms Matuszek, who has been with the home for 12 years, says they have had to change with the times.

“We installed a wi-fi system a few years back and many of the residents have smartphones, so it helps them connect with their relatives even if they are overseas.”

Long-time resident, Jean Mayall, 77, originally from Middlesex, England, has been at the home for 32 years, first as a housekeeper and later as a resident.

“I used to be the caller in the bingo game, though nowadays I enjoy the movie nights on Tuesdays and Saturdays.”

Alan Watling, 90, from Newlands, has been at the home for two years; the first with his late wife, Cecily.

“It’s a different lifestyle; you watch a lot of television and read a lot, though the home is caring and the staff is excellent.”

Noluthando Renqe has been a nurse at the home for three years and says she learns a lot from working with senior citizens.

“I learn how to deal with the seniors that have Alzheimer’s, make sure they eat and get rest.”

Sister Kathy de Beer has been with the home for about seven years. She says it is like a family to her and she feels privileged to be part of their 90th anniversary milestone.

The home’s chef, Christene Coetzee, of Delft, says her colleagues have become like a family to her.

“I have been working here for a long time, I got used to it. Sometimes when I work weekends I am allowed to sleep in one of the rooms.”