President of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) Marilyn Rice-Bowen has urged senior citizens to put measures in place for continuing health care when they fall ill.
Rice-Bowen suggested that senior citizens write what she described as “the note”, outlining to their relatives what they want as health care conditions, in addition to beginning the discussion on how the care will be financed.
She emphasized that “the note” will not replace the will, which is a legal document, drafted with the assistance of an attorney-at-law.
Rice-Bowen said: “You say in the note things like if I am disabled and I am unable to care for myself I want to be placed in, let’s say there is a home called Speakers. I want to be placed in Speakers nursing home.
“Currently the cost is, and I have made provisions for that. Now if you have not made provisions for that level of care, you need to be up front with your family so that if they have to pick up the slack, they will know.”
As she addressed the topic, BARP’s Role In A Changing Demographic, at the Maurice Byer Polyclinic, St Peter where she delivered remarks to the Men’s Health Group, on Monday, the president advised senior citizens that they cannot expect their relatives to automatically pay for their health care.
She said because family members may not be able to pay for their loved ones health care, they sometimes have no choice but to place them in a government-run district hospital.
Rice-Bowen said: “Now in the note you will also speak to a caregiver.
“You will state in the note, that you can cover the cost of a caregiver for a month or whatever.
“But you ought to place in that note how you want to be cared for.
“The capacity of your family to manage your care, in the event that you don’t have adequate funds is important, and that is why the note would start a conversation with your family.
“It is important that you prepare a note when you are in good health and when you are not angry.
“Very often so much time is wasted because nobody knows what to do with you and it gets to that stage.
“It isn’t because they don’t care for you but because they don’t know what you want, they don’t know what to do. And very often they come to us but regrettably we cannot finance such care.” [email protected]