Government Moving To Curb Elderly Abandonment

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Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler??

Government’s Ministry of Social Care is working on a comprehensive community care programme which could see elderly Barbadians being cared for by retired nursing and National Assistance Board (NAB) personnel,?? in the comfort of their own homes and communities.

Word of this has come from Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler, who said this was in an attempt to curb the disturbing practice of persons abandoning their elderly relatives at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and other institutions, despite the excellent care provided by the NAB.

His comments came over the weekend, as he addressed the NAB’s staff graduation ceremony at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.

According to Minister Sinckler, the Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Health and Social Care had been directed to prepare a draft paper on the matter to be brought before Cabinet, as well as Cabinet’s Social Policy Committee.

??"We are taking it extremely seriously as a Government. There is a pseudo-old persons’ ward being created at the QEH where people are just being put there. The hospital has a shortage of bed space and these persons are not necessarily sick and requiring acute care, and therefore should not be in a hospital," he underlined.

Noting that these persons could easily be taken care of within their communities, the Social Care Minister warned that relatives who left the burden of caring for their relatives on the state, and then hoped "to crawl out of the woodwork" once they had died and left property, may soon be in for a rude awakening.

"It will have to be addressed very seriously even to the point of law. Where, as is the case in?? other countries,?? particularly the United States of?? America and Europe,?? a charge or lien?? is placed on those persons to recover from the estates of elderly?? persons who may have passed on the cost which the Government would?? have invested in taking care of those persons," he charged.

"So to be forewarned is to be forearmed – because as we build a caring society, all of us have a responsibility to look after our elderly… our children and our elderly must never be left to fend for themselves in this society," he stressed.

Minister Sinckler, who currently chairs the Social Policy Committee, said Government had committed itself to treating persons deemed to be the most vulnerable in the community with "the best possible care."

He told graduates that, conversely, as they interacted with elderly persons within the community, they had a seminal responsibility to be the conduit, so that their voices could be heard.

"You go into these homes every day – you interact with the clients. They have ideas and thoughts to share; you also have ideas and thoughts to share. You know what their problems are, so speak to your team leaders, your supervisors, your management and your Board. Inform them about what is going on in the community, because it is through you that richer and better policies can be devised," he maintained."

cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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