A team from the National Assistance Board (NAB), led by Chairman Dr David Durant, moved in on a home in Massiah Street, St John this morning, following what was reported to be another case of elderly abuse.
However, at the end of their investigation, Durant was forced to conclude that there was no real evidence of abuse after 76-year-old Harriet Codrington, who was thoroughly examined by NAB registered nurse Esther Bend and no signs of bedsores or bruises were found about her body.
In support of her relative’s denial of the abuse claims, which were reported on the front page of the Sunday Sun newspaper yesterday, the elderly woman also pleaded with the authorities to allow her to remain at her home in St John, where she is cared for by her niece.
“She does not want to move. It is her home and this is where she has lived all her years. We were thinking about removing her, but since she wants to remain, we will bring the help to her,” said Durant, adding “we haven’t seen much evidence of overall bad treatment from our examination”.
However, two male residents who were listening in as Durant spoke to reporters interjected, making it known to the NAB chairman that they thought leaving the elderly woman in her current setting was a “bad move”.
They did not give Barbados TODAY their names, but contended that residents were fed up with the alleged “bad treatment” the old woman received.
The men who openly voiced their concerns said they had reported to authorities, including police, that Codrington was not only malnourished, but a victim of both physical and verbal abuse in her unkept wooden home.
“[The authorities] should move she. That woman in there suffering. She ain’t want to move because them tell she to tell the people she don’t want to move. I hope them don’t regret not moving she from there,” one resident lamented.
Another resident was equally concerned that the pensioner would get more bad treatment.
However, the charges were immediately denied by the caretaker, Antonio Codrington, who was initially heard loudly singing a verse of the gospel song, He’ll Do It Again, before she responded directly to the two men, who she suggested were telling lies. She also threatened them with court action.
After an hour long meeting with Codrington, NAB officials decided that the elderly woman must also be thoroughly examined by a medical doctor.
“Also the surroundings are not the best, so we are going to arrange with National Assistance Board Personnel to come and clean up [and] we are going to offer our home care personnel to come here on a daily basis to make sure she is bathed, food is cooked and she is fed,” said Durant, who is a religious minister and a Government senator.
Member of Parliament for St John Mara Thompson, who also visited the home this morning, told Barbados TODAY she was convinced that the caregiver needed some assistance.
“It is too much for her [caregiver]. We can decide to remove the old lady Altogether, but the old lady doesn’t want that. Or, we can assist the niece in taking care of her,” Thompson said.
The MP also expressed concerned that apparent confusion between the caretaker and her daughter was affecting the elderly resident.
“That is a completely different ball game,” Thompson said.
“I came to see whether that fight isn’t affecting decisions made. But I think the NAB is going to send in assistance and I am happy with that,” she added.
This latest development comes against the backdrop of a recent video that went viral on social media showing 84-year-old Jasmine Hall being abused by her caretaker, Arielle King, at the Roseville nursing home, in Christ Church.
King has since been charged in connection with the crime.
Today, Durant applauded residents in St John for their vigilance, while stating it was time for elderly abuse to end.