A call has gone out to churches to keep more of the island’s elderly people in their communities.
Rector of St. Barnabas Anglican Church, the Reverend Mark Harewood, made this call today during a Press conference at the Senior Citizens Day Care Centre, Chapel Gap, St. Michael.
The cleric told members of the Press that as part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of the church, it will celebrate 30 years of ministry in with its Senior Citizens’ Day Care Centre.
Harewood said: “We at St. Barnabas thought it would be good to encourage other churches to be involved in this aspect of outreach given the fact of late that many persons have been concerned about elderly persons being left in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“Families would not feel so much under pressure because we are dealing with an ageing population. We are living longer, therefore the issues of ageing are coming to the forefront.”
He argued that after 30 years of the St. Barnabas Day Care Centre, more persons should be involved in this aspect of the ministry.
“We have children day care centres and that is great, but in terms of the seniors, we do not have that level,” Harewood added.
Noting that the church’s patron saint was St. Barnabas, Son of Encouragement, the cleric explained that he wanted to encourage people to enter this ministry to senior citizens.
Harewood disclosed that the Senior Citizens Day Care Centre had approximately 30 clients who attend the facility between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The rector explained: “This gives an opportunity for families to do the things that they need to do and yet still at the end of the day they can have their family and loved ones at home for longer periods.
“We have a situation here where clients can have companionship, mobility exercises, fun, spiritual nurture, a meal and some supervision in respect of their medical care.”
Harewood pointed that the running of the facility was fully underwritten by the church because it did not receive any funding from the state. He added that the clients or their families paid only $20 per week for the services offered.
These clients, the rector explained, were drawn from other churches and denominations, and a major contributor to funding their activities came from a fair which is held every May, along with contributions from members of the church.
Meanwhile, chairman of the 175th Anniversary Committee, Carlyle Carter, told members of the press that he hoped to raise the issue of Government assistance to the centre with Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett.