Maizie’s love for elderly
By Anesta Henry | Wed, August 08, 2012 - 11:20 AM
The elderly should be treated with respect!
The younger generation should not cringe at their wrinkles or faded looks but should look to them as the marks of people filled with the knowledge and wisdom of living into old age.
Their ideas should not be considered insignificant or outdated. And their welfare and needs should be at the top of a government’s priority list.
This is the view of this week’s WEDNESDAY WOMAN Maizie Barker-Welch. She is herself an elderly person who has been chairperson of the National Committee on Ageing, heading, since 2008, an 18-member board that is responsible for “improving the conditions of the elderly in every way through looking out for their health, housing and their protection”.
“I have always had a love for the elderly which grew stronger when I cared for my mother in her last years. The elderly are the most important people in the country, and this is why their welfare should be looked after and they must always be respected. They deserve nothing less,” Barker-Welch told the MIDWEEK NATION during a recent interview at her St Michael home, in the comfort and serenity of her garden, where she spends a lot of her time.
When asked if she was satisfied with the way the elderly are treated in Barbados, the chairperson and also long-time member of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons, said: “No, I am not satisfied, especially with the fact that some of them are being left at the hospital.”
Nevertheless, Barker-Welch, whose committee is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Care, said she anxiously awaited a detailed White Paper on Ageing which will upgrade the laws on the elderly to be passed in Parliament.
That paper, she said, “will ensure that the elderly in this country are treated better and the way they should be treated”.
“We are very much against the elderly being abused and elderly abuse can be in several ways. It doesn’t have to be just physical abuse. Pensions of some elderly are being taken in some instances . . . .
“I mean, if somebody took your pension and then fed you and did everything for you that would be a good thing. But some people’s pensions go and they don’t receive any help or they don’t receive the help they deserve,” she said.
The former Democratic Labour Party stalwart, who interacts with centenarians and residents of district hospitals, assisting with the organization of special events for these individuals, said that her committee was also “concerned that nursing homes are not always run according to the laws and are not custom-built”.
“That is a big concern,” she said in a serious voice. “. . . It will surely be addressed in the White Paper.”
“When you go to some of the homes, you find that people are up two flights of stairs and they are in wheelchair. Amongst other things, we have made the suggestion that when homes are built, the space should be left for the elderly to be accommodated on the bottom floor.”
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