The love and warmth of close family and a comfortable home – is vital particularly when people reach the twilight of their lives and can, no longer, fend for themselves.
Nestling in lush green surroundings the Lady Fareed Home for Elders is a haven for lonely elders; providing them comfort and love.
The Lady Fareed Home for Elders was the brainchild of late Lady Ameena Fareed. In her time the mere idea of an Elders’ Home was remote to the Muslim community as it was considered a near crime to commit an elder to a Home. But the foresight of Lady Ameena Fareed led her to set up the home, generously gifting 139 perches of land at Makola.
|A game of carrom after evening tea.
An Elders’ Home was established in 1957 by the Moors Islamic Cultural Home’s leader and founder, the late Sir Razik Fareed and declared open on September 22, 1957 by the Governor General of Ceylon at that time, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke.
After the passage of 50 years, Haji Eliyas Abdul Kareem came forward to rebuild the present buildings and infrastructure in memory of his parents. The new building was declared open by the donor on September 2, 2007.
The Lady Fareed Home with a capacity to house 60 elders is the only home catering to the Muslim community out of 250 such homes in operation islandwide. The Home opens its doors to elders who have no children, who are unmarried, widows, widowers and those whose children live abroad.
Those who are not financially stable enough to pay are also welcome to stay free of charge.
There are 20 residents at the Home currently including some who have been at the Home for as long as 20 years and others who have joined as recently as a month ago.
As they are not geared to cater to the physically or mentally challenged or those who are terminally ill, the Home does not take in the differently abled. “We will open our doors to the differently abled when we develop the necessary infrastructure and facilities,” says Chairman of the Management Committee, Mohideen Rajabdeen. The Home caters only to Muslims and much emphasis is laid on religious observances.
The ambience is warm and friendly in this well maintained, clean and cheerful Home.
Ever heard of elders playing ball and other games? Yes! The elders at Lady Fareed Home are young people once again enjoying a ball game out in the sun in the mornings. As tea time approaches, they flock to the large dining room where over hot cups of tea and biscuits, they joke and talk. They have their meals in the dining room adjoining the kitchen.
However, those who find it hard to walk are served in their rooms. After tea in the evening they gather in small groups to play carrom and various other board games.
|Lady Fareed Home: A haven for elders
There are assistants to take care of the residents who find it hard to get about their daily chores on their own. The residents’ health is also monitored by a neighbourhood doctor who visits weekly. The diet is planned ahead and takes into consideration the recommendations of the doctor. Usually there’s chicken and fish twice a week and dry fish once a week.
The elders love it when people come to visit them and spend time with them. Many arrange a simple birthday meal with the elders which brings them much joy.
The Home is in the process of adding some vocational training as an occupational therapy. They are also trying to encourage the elders to be involved in gardening.
The Home is further enhanced by the vast well cultivated garden space which offers a comforting shade from the sun and soothing breeze as a result of the many trees. The land has been improved by the planned cultivation and establishment of 100 teak plants, mango, plantain, papaw trees and a wide variety of vegetables and fruit for the needs of the home.
“The place is peaceful,” says Rameeza Ghany who has been at the home for the past one and a half years, adding that they are very happy. “There is good food and a doctor visits us once a week” she explained content and at ease in this environment surrounded by those who take good care of her.
Faizah Shamsedeen has been at the home for less than a month. “I like this place very much” says Faizah shyly, seated on her bed surrounded by her new friends. She got to know about the place through her brother she says adding that her husband and son are abroad. She is settling in very well, say her friends at the Home.
|Getting some fresh air:The well kept garden adds to the pleasant setting
The sense of being one family and the urge to help each other along is evident.
Jasima Rasol has been at the home for 20 years. Some of her friends at the Home who had been with her in the early years have passed away and are missed by Jasima.
“I come to the home to keep the elders happy, to help in caring for them and in managing the home,” says Fathima Selvaratnam who is a volunteer. She talks to the elders, helps with their haircuts and makes sure that they are well taken care of.
The Lady Fareed Home strives to achieve their goals with the help of the Department of Social Services and the Ministry of Social Welfare.
President of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home Omar Kamil, former Mayor of Colombo and present Chief Administrator is a tower of strength to the Management Committee and has spurred them on to greater heights for the cause of elders.
Those who wish to help could do so by donating money or necessary items, spending time with the elders or sharing a meal. The Home is located at 27, Pamunuwila Road, Makola South, Makola, tel 011-2912836.
They can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ladyfareedhome.org