A 73-year-old St Barnabas, St Michael man is counting his lucky stars after he was rescued from a hole in the floor of his dilapidated wooden house earlier this week.
It is believed that Hutson Yarde, also known as Herbert and many other names, may have been in that situation for about three days before he was discovered.
Yarde’s next door neighbour Mary Gibson, who often checks in on him to see how he is doing, said she had not seen him since last week Thursday, and so on Sunday she went by to “shout” him.
A few days later Gibson decided to check in on her elderly neighbour again.
“I came up on the step and I shout for him and he told me he couldn’t come because he broke his foot. That is what he told me. So I went in [my house] and I called the police, then the police came,” she recalled.
A medical team also showed up with an ambulance, as well as officials from the National Assistance Board (NAB) and the fire department.
After they managed to open his door, Yarde, a retired Bridgetown Port worker, was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), where he is currently being treated for injuries to his feet.
The unfortunate incident occurred while the NAB was in the process of making arrangements to move him from his dilapidated home.
NAB Chairman Senator David Durant told Barbados TODAY he received a call about two months ago from someone in the nieghbourhood who informed him of the deplorable condition that Yarde was living in.
Durant said he then informed the NAB, which responded immediately by sending in an official who has been checking frequently on the elderly man.
Today, Durant expressed regret that he did not get to move before the unfortunate incident.
“It is no way for a man to live, a lot of rats and roaches. So we were working on getting him removed from here, but before that could happen we realized that he fell in, which I was afraid of happening.”
Yarde’s broken down wooden home is filled with what appears to be garbage, but are really heaps of old clothes, a bedspring and other filthy looking items strewn all about. This coupled with an unpleasant stench had left Durant to conclude that it really was no place for anyone to live.
Adamant that the elderly man could not go back into those conditions, Durant today promised to ensure that after he leaves hospital, he is placed in the Geriatric Hospital or another suitable elderly care home, “so that he would not come back to this trap because this is a safety hazard here”.
In light of this and similar situations, Durant said he was pleading with family members to take better care of their elderly.
“If you have your elderly . . . they have served long enough in this country, they are now weak and frail, they need our help. That is why we are trying to strengthen legislation to deal with situations like these, especially those who are coming [to care for them],” said Durant.
It is not known if Yarde has any family member in Barbados.