??Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (left, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Minister of Health, Donville Inniss and Acting Manager of the Geriatric Hospital, Joanell Oxley Worrell, admire the plaque erected to mark the opening of the refurbished kitchen facilities. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Government’s Care of the Elderly Programme will come under closer scrutiny following Cabinet’s approval of a slew of comprehensive reforms,?? that will address the broad areas of policy formulation, institutional care, community and home care and rehabilitation services.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made this disclosure today, while addressing the opening ceremony of the new kitchen facility at the Geriatric Hospital on Beckles Road.

The aim of this reform, he added, was to improve the quality of life of the island’s seniors and to streamline the existing services to provide a wholesome environment for those persons who could be released from institutionalised care for one reason or the other.

Giving this scenario, Mr. Stuart alluded to the development of support systems within the community similar to those offered by the Home Help Service.?? "In this regard, we will need to look at strengthening our public health services to enable practitioners, to visit the community routinely, to assist the elderly with taking their medication and the like … I am aware that this community support is now being offered, but its efficacy is limited, as a result of the paucity of human resources available," he observed.

The Prime Minister described the current daycare programme at the Geriatric Hospital as an excellent example of a facility that allowed the elderly to reside in a home-setting with support services that encouraged them to function at an optimal level.

In light of the positive role of such interventions for the elderly, Mr. Stuart reasoned that such facilities should be more widely available and hinted at the provision of similar facilities in the medium-term.

"It is only fitting that we, the beneficiaries of their toil, accord them that quality care indispensable to their enjoyment of their golden years.?? We have a duty to be vigilant about their well-being so that they are provided with a sense of security, belonging and purpose.?? Hence, this will engender positive ageing, which embraces a sense of self-fulfillment, personal safety and physical comfort," he emphasised.

The $3.9 million kitchen facility was constructed on a phased basis over two financial years.


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