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    October 23

  • 03:36 PM

Govt moving to protect elderly

CARLOS ATWELL, ​carlosatwell@nationnews.com

Added 19 September 2019

cynthia-forde-091919

Minister of Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde is warning that legislation will be coming to help protect the elderly from those who prey on them. (Picture by Reco Moore.)

Legislation is on the way to prevent people from using their ageing relatives as means for profit. Minister of Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde is warning that those days may soon be numbered.

“Too many times we have the elderly suffering but yet their relatives come forward with power of attorney because there may be money in the bank or the house is on prime land. We are working on legislation to remove those vultures from the backs of those senior citizens. We want them shielded from these heartless people . . . who are fleecing them out of their funds,” she said.

Calling the act “reprehensible”, Forde said it was not only family members guilty of this as there had also been cases of caregivers, attorneys, social workers, doctors and others who fell into this category.

The minister was giving the feature address yesterday at a Barbados Alzheimer’s Association training seminar at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre under the theme, Let’s Talk Dementia: End The Stigma.

She spoke about the changing society and how it was affecting the way the elderly were being treated.

“We have gone from the extended family to the nuclear family and have removed ourselves from the village, which was the backbone of society . . . . That is what is contributing to some of the issues with the elderly. The number of centenarians in Barbados shows the quality of their lives, but because there are no families to take care of them, they have to go to the district hospitals,” she said.

“I realise some families cannot afford to take care of their elderly relatives but the situation is the staff at the hospitals are overwhelmed. I encourage any family to take their elderly relatives home and find a way to care for them. We still have people in the community who will do that, even for a small stipend.”

Forde urged Barbadians to report when they saw an elderly person being abused.

She also praised the work of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Barbados Palliative Care Association, National Assistance Board and the bereavement services, asking the public to join those associations or support their work.

Family and community health technical advisor for the Pan American Health Organisation in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr Darlene Omeir Taylor, said those taking care of people with dementia were more susceptible to depression and non-communicable diseases. As such, she recommended they seek training first.

“Early detection allows for preparation. There are techniques to deal with stress, techniques for lifting a person, techniques to relate to someone with dementia,” she said.

President of the Barbados Alzheimer’s Association, Pamelia Brereton, said they would be offering technique classes from October. (CA)

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