An elderly woman who residents said was suffering in silence was rescued by the state today.
Just after 11 a.m., National Assistance Board (NAB) officials removed an emaciated 76-year-old Harriet Codrington from her Massiah Street, St John home where she was living with her caretaker Antonio Codrington.
The elderly woman, who is blind, willingly made the move to the Geriatric Hospital.
“She wanted to move. She seemed to like the idea of moving this morning. She felt at peace, relieved. She left voluntarily and gave us all the assistance we needed,” NAB Chairman Senator David Durant told Barbados TODAY.
It was around 9 a.m. that NAB officials arrived at the home before calling the police to help them gain entry into the wooden structure.
But this elderly woman’s case is not new to the public.
On May 22, an NAB team led by Durant visited the home after residents had complained that Codrington was being abused by her caretaker, who denied the claim at the time.
A subsequent examination by NAB registered nurse Esther Bend revealed no evidence of abuse and no signs of bedsores or bruises.
At that time, the elderly woman pleaded with the authorities to allow her to remain at her home, where she was being cared for by her niece.
However, two male residents who had been listening in as Durant spoke to reporters interjected, making it known to the NAB chairman that they thought leaving the elderly woman in that setting was a “bad move”.
Despite the residents’ outcry, Durant and his team, accompanied by Member of Parliament for St John Mara Thompson, decided the woman would be left in the household, with the promise that the situation would be closely monitored. NAB also promised to provide Codrington with care and meals.
NAB personnel have since been finding it impossible to enter the home, Durant revealed.
“Today, Codrington showed signs of being malnourished and she was being left for an almost entire day in her home, which could expose her to serious danger and bodily harm.
“And this morning, we found her alone in the house so we got the police and we were able to enter and take her out. She will be under 24 hours care,” the NAB chairman said.
When Barbados TODAY visited the community this evening, residents who requested anonymity, said they were pleased with the intervention, which they said was long overdue.
“That poor old woman was getting treat bad in there for all this time. Don’t just talk about wanting to stop elderly abuse, I want them charge the woman that supposed to be taking care of she. She [caretaker] should get charge for neglect and making that old woman suffer,” one upset male resident ranted.
Meanwhile, a neighbour said while he was at work when the move was made, coming home to the news that he would no longer have to hear Codrington’s cries for help, was satisfying. He alleged that way too often the elderly woman was left alone for extended periods.
“The doctors would come and she [caretaker] won’t let them in. Today ain’t the first time police come and had to break in to get in there.
“People ain’t see that old woman in donkey years. Some people ain’t even know that she still living. Other family don’t come around because them get run,” the resident told Barbados TODAY.
Meanwhile, Durant stressed that the decision to move the woman was well thought out.
“When everybody wanted to move her, I said, ‘let’s monitor her and see’. If we had seen improvements we wouldn’t have done that,” he said.
“When there are instances of this happening, that we are aware of, we will make interventions with the relevant authorities. There is still a lot of elder abuse happening and we want to reduce this situation considerably in the land,” Durant assured.