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How to help left elderly


rhondathompson, [email protected]

How to help left elderly

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THE CARE of elderly people abandoned at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) should be turned over to private homes, says Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) executive director George Griffith.
The BFPA head said it would be more economical for Government to outsource such service of care.
He was responding to reports that almost 100 patients, among them 28 elderly people who were fit for discharge, were occupying QEH beds they should have vacated, resulting in a loss of revenue to the hospital.
QEH chief executive officer Dr Dexter James said the estimated cost for the daily care of such people was $500 and called for legislation to stop relatives, guardians and other people “dumping” the elderly at the hospital.
Pointing out that there was no law to compel a child to take care of an elderly parent, and that children had rights which should not be infringed, Griffith said ultimately the state had responsibility for the elderly who were abandoned at hospitals.
“There are a lot of people in their 50s and 60s, maybe retired nurses, social workers, Government workers or teachers, who have houses and may have extra rooms where they can house some of those [abandoned] persons,” James said.    
In the same way that Government, through the Assisted Living Programme, was paying $75 per day for the care of an elderly person in institutions, “it can come to some arrangement with these [homeowners] as it would be more economical for the Government to outsource those services to them”, Griffith reasoned.
Incentive programme
He suggested that failing that, private senior citizens’ home operators should come under an incentive programme with a very effective inspectorate.
He added that Government’s geriatric homes were not an option, as they should be for people with severe medical conditions “and it is too easy for people to just take seniors and dump them there”.
Griffith called for better education in the care of the elderly and an understanding of the ageing process, saying they were key factors to consider in finding a solution to the problem of abandonment. He warned that given Barbados’ ageing population, the problem could worsen unless it was addressed effectively now.
Griffith said that almost every three or four months a statement was released lamenting the “dumping”, but nothing was being done.  
“The tone of the comment suggests that those family members who are doing that [abandoning the elderly] are wicked and ungrateful,” he stated.
He identified the changing structure of today’s family and the economic pressure on families as contributors to the problem.
He added that in order to afford the quality of life to which Barbadians had grown accustomed, families had to work, leaving less time to cater to the elderly.

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