Residential care is an important aspect in the lives of those persons with disabilities who, by virtue of their severe disability, are unable to live independently. While the aim is always for persons with disabilities to live independently, this is not always possible.
Many factors can influence the decision to reside in a residential care facility. There are those whose impairment is so severe that they will always require assistance with personal care tasks, while for others, the fact that they are able to live apart from their family offers its own measure of independence.
Whatever the case, the decision must always be that of the individual themselves.
As a result of the South African Defence Force activities in Angola during 1975, Mr. Solm Yach, one of the initial founders of the Fund for Security Services Disabled and a prominent businessman, realised the possibility that there would be casualties and permanent injuries amongst SA servicemen who participated in that war not out of their free will or to seek adventure. He visited late Brig L.H Robertson and his blind wife, late Bettie Robertson and together they decided to establish a care-facility for disabled servicemen in South Africa.
Robertson House was built in 1985 in Sanddrift, Milnerton, but even though the first disabled servicemen moved in shortly afterwards, the facility was only officially opened on 7 June 1990 by the then Administrator of the Cape, Mr. Kobus Meiring. Due to the ever increasing demand for additional accommodation, the constitution was amended to allow the accommodation of any person with a permanent spinal cord injury over the age of 18 years, and the name was changed to Robertson House.
Robertson House is a warm and welcome multi-racial home for persons over the age of 18 years, mostly persons with quadriplegia and all residents use wheelchairs for mobility. It provides full accommodation with 24-hour care services in an environment conducive to maximal privacy and independence. The organisation also strives to protect and promote the interests of the residents and to remove those physical, legal and attitudinal barriers which hinder the integration of persons with disabilities into the community.
Wallace Anderson Home was the dream of three quadriplegics which took five years to become a reality. After much fundraising projects and generous donations the building commenced in August 1992, and after completion in February 1993 the Home was opened by Prof. Wallace Anderson after whom the Home was named.
Situated in Riversdale in the Western Cape province, Wallace Anderson Home accommodates seven disabled residents with spinal injuries, with a personnel of sixteen of which ten caretakers and six additional personnel.
The Home is an independent Home and the residents take an active part in the running of the Home without any financial backing from government. Wallace Anderson Plastics and Wallace Anderson Computer Designs are two businesses located on the premises of the Home, run by some of the residents and assisted by outside help and are open to the public for business. Further funds are generated by private donations and fundraising projects held throughout the year.
Goukam Health provides respite and rehabilitation to people in Riversdale and surrounds whose families are not in a position to care for them at all times and where the distances are too great for them to access the daily medical and psychosocial care they require. The facility has 10 beds and provides three modest meals per day. All residents have access to the professional services of a consulting Nursing Sister and, if necessary, access to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work services and clinical psychology.