Tafta Care Practitioners making a difference

    Committed to the service of others, Tafta’s (The Association for the Aged) latest group of dedicated and passionate care practitioners graduated with flying colours last month.

    The 10 week Care Practitioners course, facilitated by Tafta saw 27 students advance in the much needed role to improve the quality of life for the elderly, who are often most neglected by society.

    Tafta’s care practitioners are purpose-trained individuals, who are equipped to ensure the wellbeing of the elderly, but their role extends far beyond their primary duties- they are a source of comfort and companionship to those for whom they care.

    Tafta currently provides quality care for approximately 300 frail senior citizens, who require constant assistance and are cared for on a 24-hour basis by care practitioners.

    Fostering a culture of care, based on Tafta’s core values of compassion, respect, co-operation, integrity and service excellence, staff are expected to possess an innate desire to care for the elderly and the organisation’s care practitioners are known for displaying these qualities in their every task.

    Describing the role as a call to service, these compassionate individuals say caring for the elderly is more than a job but an opportunity to bring people joy and reassurance in their old age.

    “Being responsible for the welfare of the elderly and working so closely with them every day brings so much of an emotional reward. In this environment, we spend more time with them, giving them the opportunity to socialise and communicate with someone younger. I feel so inspired knowing I am making a positive difference in someone’s life,” says Mrs Memorial Zulu who has been a care practitioner for 22 years.

    Tafta introduced the care practitioner training programme in 2014 and has since produced a cohort of care practitioners who have committed themselves to putting the needs of thousands of dependent senior citizens before their own.

    “It takes a special person to heed the call to serve others and dedicate themselves to providing care. Often our carers are the unsung heroes but these selfless and hardworking individuals find their reward in the genuine appreciation expressed by those they care for and the personal bonds shared with the elders. It is for this reason that we honour them this Women’s day,” says Gail Samuels, Tafta’s divisional manager – Income Development, Marketing and Public Relations.

    A three-month course including theory, practical training and written exams equips the care practitioners with the knowledge and skills to proficiently tend to the needs of the elderly.

    Tafta’s training also focuses on the humanitarian aspects of the role, instilling the importance of treating residents with kindness and dignity, knowing that for many residents a Tafta home might be their last home.

    “Tafta recognises the need for well-trained caregivers to assist the elderly, which drives our commitment to invest in skills development in this field,” says Samuels.

    “Tafta’s training offers a dual benefit as it produces additional carers, which ensures that help is available to our elders, particularly the frail, and also creates job opportunities for the unemployed” adds Samuels.

    For Zulu, becoming a care practitioner not only provided her with a sustainable career but helped her to realise her passion.