The House Mothers’ Role at our Home for Disabled Adults

Sunfield Home is a well-respected home away from home for disabled adults with special needs, which has been operating for over 65 years. 

Our care facility for special needs adults is categorized into three phases:

  1. Our high functioning facility, 
  2. Adult assisted living facility (our flats), and 
  3. Our frail care centre.

Homes for Disabled Adults require House Mothers with Special Skills

At Sunfield Home Howick, there are house mothers, assistant house mothers and caregivers all who rotate shifts to run and oversee the smooth daily running of the various facilities. 

Caregivers are the back bone of day-to-day care for disabled adults, and we have both day and night caregiving teams. Our home for disabled adults has services that run throughout the day and night, which provides a variety of special needs programmes for adults. All these programmes are run by the Occupational Therapy Department.

The purpose of these programmes is to stimulate our mentally challenged adults and to provide them with meaningful activities and expose them to, and develop, new skills.

House Mothers – Women with Many Coats 

House mothers have a diverse role to play, which involves the following characteristics: being a substitute mom, carer, teacher, psychologist, admin lady, companion, supervisor and therapist. On a daily basis, these coats do come out depending on the situation and circumstance. 

Birthdays are days that we look forward to because that is where our singing voices are renewed and a bit of some spoiling is experienced, with all the usual special treats one would expect.  Weekends are set for leisure time for the residents, when each person gets to do what they want in their social circles because workshop classes run Monday to Fridays.

Weekends are looked forward to by residents in homes for disabled adults, just as much as you and I look forward to them. This is the time when residents get to play music, play stations, read, watch movies of their own choices, visit each other and natter away. 

Spring cleaning is the order of the day on Saturdays where each person cleans their own room, and arranges (read re-arranges!) it however they wish. This is also a time for the house mother to put on her mother coat. When you sit and catch up with them on what is happening in their lives, have tea in the garden whilst listening to them chat and argue about workshop issues and go for short walks around the property.

Chapel in the lives of residents of homes for disabled adults

Chapel is a must on Sunday mornings and everyone looks forward to it.  After chapel they get to relax and await the delicious Sunday lunch and desert. Being a house mother involves being a supervisor, making sure that the work of the assistant house mothers, carers and domestic workers is efficiently done, meetings are held regularly to ensure that there is transparency at all times between myself and my staff, solving problems and challenges that do come up, and ensuring that we are all on the same page. 

Communicating with parents on a regular basis is what I do.  House mothers also train the residents on personal hygiene skills, facilitate issues of behaviour, manners, respect and love. 


The bottom line is, being a house mother in a home for disabled adults is no different to being a mother in a home full of children. It can be hard work and tiring, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.

If you’d like to help us give these intellectually impaired adults stimulating and enjoyable skills development opportunities see how you can Get Involved, or please Donate, any amount would be gratefully received.

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Have any questions? Call or email our General Manager, Cliff Freeman.
078 524 5151