It is projected that by the year 2030, one quarter of Barbados’ population will be considered elderly and The Ministry of Health is planning to invest more funds into the facilities charged with taking care of the island’s senior citizens.
During an address at the official opening ceremony of the Geriatric Services’ National Appeal Day at the Geriatric Hospital on Beckles Road, St Michael, Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic said Government had allocated $35.5 million to look after the elderly in its 2018-19 budget.
He said, “$18.6 million of this total has been assigned to the Geriatric Hospital, $7.2 million to the St Philip District Hospital; $4.4 million to the Alternative Care for the Elderly programme, which caters to 135 people in 26 of the 56 private nursing homes on the island, while the St. Lucy District Hospital and Gordon Cummins District Hospital in St Thomas will each receive over $2 million.”
Bostic commended the regular conscripts and reserve members of the Barbados Defence Force for the work they had done on the Beckles Road facility since adopting it in August this year.
Chief of Staff of the BDF Glyne Grannum said “We replaced termite infested rafters in the roof, carried out plumbing and electrical work, replaced windows and doors and repainted one of the buildings, and apart from working on the wards, we also upgraded the areas occupied by the nurses and administrative staff.”
Bostic said the first phase of the work had been estimated at $31,000, but that had increased to $155,000. He said, “It is now estimated that the cost of the complete refurbishment of the first block will be $510,000 and the second block will cost about the same.”
Bostic, a former member of the BDF, praised the soldiers’ commitment to the job, noting that in some cases they even solicited donations or used their own money to keep the project going.
He said the National Appeal Day is aimed at encouraging all Barbadians to contribute to the wellbeing of the older population by giving their time and resources.
A number of schools have also come on board to assist at the Geriatric Hospital, including the People’s Cathedral and St. Gabriel’s Primary Schools, the St Michael School, Harrison College and Graydon Sealy Secondary School.
Some 504 patients reside at the district hospitals in Barbados, with the Geriatric Hospital, the largest one of all, housing 286 seniors including a number of centenarians.