Government-run homes for the elderly are bursting at the seams and the situation is likely to get even more dire as an already aging population gets older, a senior official revealed today.
Acting Director of the National Assistance Board (NAB) Andrew Browne told the media during a picnic for elderly folks at Bath, St John that the country’s aging population was placing a heavy demand on limited Government-operated facilities.
He said the Geriatric Hospital, District Hospitals and the Vauxhall Senior Citizen Village were running out of space, prompting the NAB to appeal to able-bodied family members to keep their elderly relatives at home.
“We try to use moral suasion with family members hoping that they accommodate them. Given our limited resources at NAB, we accommodate them at Vauxhall Senior Citizen Village, but we can only accommodate 40 there,” Browne said.
He said the state agency had also reached out to district hospitals seeking their support, but had been advised there was a waiting list.
“And unfortunately, some people have to remain at the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital] before they can move on to the Geriatric Hospital, or District Hospitals. But we definitely need some place for our elderly growing population.
“Almost everyday you can look into your newspapers and see someone that is 100 years old, and you have a whole lot more in their 90s and 80s and 70s, so we have to make some conscious attempts to accommodate them,” the Acting NAB head said.
Browne admitted that it would be costly to construct and maintain additional facilities, something he said Government could not afford at this time.
However, he said the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, under which NAB falls, was continuously exploring ways to meet the needs of the elderly.
Over 100 elderly citizens who receive NAB home care service attended the picnic.
They laughed, chatted, and even enjoyed a mini-concert put on by 76-year-old calypsonian Denis Cut Loose Springer and gospel songstress Sister Magrita Marshall.
Food donated and prepared by hotels and restaurants was also enjoyed by all.
Browne said the annual picnic coincided with the NAB’s mandate to focus on leisure activities for the aged.