The Golden Years

A video making the rounds on social media highlighted a most important truth, as it pertains to care for the elderly: “One parent can take care of ten kids, but ten kids cannot take care of one parent.” It was a glaring truth in a world where senior citizens are so often neglected by friends and family. Those with little other choice rely on public assistance from homes for the elderly, like some of the ones that received the pat on the back from the government, in the form of much needed donations emanating from proceeds of the Prime Minister’s Ball.

A number of local institutions are that much better off as a result of donations from this year’s ball, which raised somewhere in the region of half a million dollars. Many of the beneficiaries were senior citizens homes, like the Marian Home, which received $15,000, the Adelaide Home ($15,000), and the Comfort Bay Senior Citizens Home ($15,000). Other charities including homeless shelters, orphanages, special educational centers, foundations and associations also received monetary assistance, with the largest sum going to the Cornerstone Humanitarian Society, a homeless shelter which received $250,000!

The funds were welcomed and seen as a God send for many, particularly homes for the elderly that are primarily responsible for meeting the needs of seniors who require assisted care. These homes provide daily personal or custodial care to older people brought in by family members, or by means of referral.

As compared to more developed states, here in the Caribbean people are less likely to check their older family members into homes, but some are left with little choice having difficulties in providing care for ailing, or needier seniors. Those who can afford it often choose the home health aide route for caring for their loved ones. Homes are perceived by some as a last resort, but most of the ones we have here are very active, and operations are costly. Their annual expenditure is often in the region of $250,000 to $300,000, inclusive of salaries for staff, food, medications and activities. Many of these homes and other charitable institutions receive subventions from government, which cover part of their costs. The rest they are required to come up with themselves, and many do, via fundraisers, and other donations.

The essence of all of this is that while these homes are vital, so are our services to the ones who need us most. If we can, we should take care of our relatives in their older years, or contribute to their care. Even if they are staying at homes, or at hospitals, visit your parents or older relatives. When you’re in your golden years, you’ll wish someone did the same for you!

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