An undercover investigation has exposed shocking instances of mistreatment and neglect of elderly residents at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Thogoto Care Home for the Aged, located about 20km west of Nairobi, Kenya. Secretly filmed footage reveals staff members physically abusing residents, including caning an elderly woman, dumping food onto tables without plates, and disregarding medical needs.
In the undercover video, staff members dressed in purple uniforms surround an elderly woman near a metal gate within the home’s garden. The staff accuses her of leaving the designated area and refusing to return when called. The confused and frightened woman pleads for forgiveness, but the staff insists on caning her as a punishment. A staff member is then shown hitting the woman’s buttocks with a wooden stick.
This disturbing incident is only one piece of evidence from the BBC Africa Eye investigation that highlights the mistreatment occurring within the care home. The facility, initially established by the Women’s Guild of a local PCEA church, now operates independently and houses approximately 50 elderly women and men.
Nairobi has witnessed a significant rise in the number of elderly care homes over the past decade. Many of these homes operate without charging rent, relying on support from local churches or donations for funding. However, the investigation at PCEA Thogoto Care Home reveals a grave lack of proper care and compassion for vulnerable elderly residents.
The mistreatment of elderly individuals is a deeply concerning issue, particularly as Africa’s elderly population is projected to experience significant growth in the coming decades. According to a 2020 report by the United States Census Bureau, the elderly population in Africa is expected to triple from 75 million to 235 million within the next 30 years.
The exposure of such abuse underscores the urgent need for improved oversight, regulation, and training within care homes to ensure the safety, dignity, and well-being of elderly residents. As the elderly population continues to expand, addressing these issues becomes an essential responsibility to uphold the rights and respect owed to this vulnerable segment of society.