Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler,??greeting Chairperson of the National Committee on Ageing, Maizie Barker-Welch, following the opening of the seminar. At centre is Minister of Health, Donville Inniss.????

In light of the many elderly persons who are abandoned at the Geriatric and Psychiatric hospitals and their properties acquired up by relatives, Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler, is suggesting that legislation must be introduced to stop this practice.

His comments came today while speaking at the National Committee on Ageing’s Seminar on Alzheimer’s disease at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Minister Sinckler noted that the disease was the most common cause of dementia among the elderly in Barbados and there were approximately 3,500 persons diagnosed with it.?? He said this problem was compounded by "a growing and disturbing trend" of the abandonment of elderly persons, and their relatives reappearing when it was discovered that there was property to be claimed.??

"We’re going to have to, as a Government, intervene in a forceful way, so that this insidious practice is brought to a halt or slowed considerably.

??"We know that in other countries, particularly industrialised countries, that legislation has impact, where, when people are placed in state care and abandoned in that way, their properties are put under the protective care of the state.?? The state is reimbursed for whatever it has had to put out in the care of those persons.?? I hope that the day will fast come when Barbados could have such legislation in place," he remarked.??

Mr. Sinckler also spoke of there being elements of an increasing level of individualism in society that needed to be addressed seriously.?? He added that it was as a result of this, that there was a need for continued collaboration with the Ministry’s partners in government and non-governmental organisations, which represented and were involved in improving the quality of life of elderly persons.????

"The Government wants to work with groups, not only such as the Committee of Ageing, but also with private sector groups, and non-governmental and civil society organisations, to see if we can reconstruct the way we approach the care of the elderly, to look at more community-based approaches to assisting with the treatment and service of our elderly…

"It will save the state money, build a greater community spirit and certainly return the level of patriotism and community activism that we have come to know in Barbados, but which sadly appears to be fading out of sight,"?? the Social Care Minister said.

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