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A change has been made to the parishes being targeted during an outreach to elderly citizens, 70 years and over, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 11. Those parishes that will now be targeted are St. George, Christ Church, St. Michael and St. Andrew.

Members of District Emergency Organizations (DEOs) will contact persons within the 70 and over age range to check on their health care status, and whether or not they have signs of COVID-19. The DEOs are the volunteer arm of the Department of Emergency Management.

The DEOs will be contacting persons in their assigned area via telephone and not through visits to their homes as physical engagement with the elderly is being discouraged at this time. They will identify themselves as members of the DEO, and will not be asking for any financial details, or requesting money.

The DEOs in the targeted parishes were all provided with a list of names of elderly persons over 70, according to their polling district, their addresses and telephone numbers so they could reach out to them and see what, if any, help was needed.

Only basic information will be collected during the exercise.  It will be kept in the strictest confidence and only shared with the relevant government agencies.         

In circumstances where elderly persons, their relative or caregiver indicate that they are not feeling well, they would be referred to a medical professional and interviewed further.

Each DEO member will have a checklist to use as guidance. That list would require them to ascertain the person’s name, address and telephone number; whether they live alone or with others; if they are able to get their meals with or without assistance; their ability to go to the supermarket; whether they care for themselves alone or with help; if they are able to go to the doctor; and also whether they have had any COVID-19 symptoms within the last three weeks.

In cases where the elderly persons cannot speak for themselves, due to an ailment such as dementia, the DEO representative would be able to speak with their relative or caregiver.

Meanwhile, the Department of Emergency Management also stands ready to assist in the process of making calls to the elderly as a part of the exercise. 

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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