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Tuesday 17 September 2019
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Tobago

Victorine assures care, respect at elderly home

New geriatric centre launched at Belle Garden

Victorine Benjamin Charles
Victorine Benjamin Charles

Victorine Benjamin Charles' elderly citizens' home in Belle Garden, Tobago, is ready to receive clients.

She said the home, Hope and Joy Assisted Living Day and Residential Care for the Elderly, was officially opened last Thursday at Carbo Place, Bay Road, Belle Garden.

Benjamin Charles said although there was not much fanfare, she felt a special joy in her heart in opening the facility.

"It is on the market now. So, now I have to get people to put in it," Benjamin Charles told Newsday Tobago, adding she has been receiving telephone calls from interested people.

She said many people, including former health secretary Claudia Groome-Duke, have also congratulated her via social media.

"The MP (Ayanna Webster-Roy) for the area (Tobago East) has also talked about it."

The opening preceded Tuesday's examination of children's and elderly citizen's homes by the Facilities Review Committee, which was appointed by the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development.

Benjamin Charles reiterated the home is the realisation of a dream she has long harboured.

She has worked in geriatric care for many years in the US but in 2009 decided to return to TT to pursue her dream.

She recalled she had even envisioned herself attending to elderly patients.

Now that her home is constructed, Benjamin Charles is hoping it will finally fill the void that has been left by the lack of such establishments in east Tobago.

The mother of one noted that over the years, people have had to travel over long distances to secure homes in west Tobago for their elderly family members.

The Moriah native predicted the home, situated midway between Scarborough and Charlotteville, would be a success as she intends to treat all in her care with utmost respect.

"These (elderly) people would have contributed to the development of our society and it is only fitting that we give them their just due now that they are in the twilight of their years."

She added: "They must know that there are still people who care for them even though some family members decide they want no responsibilities."

Benjamin Charles, who owns another elderly home in Valencia, Trinidad, said Tobago is in need of high-quality geriatric facilities.

Describing geriatric care as a vocation, she said although most geriatric facilities function as a business, money should not be the only consideration.

She said she prays everyday for wisdom, knowledge, understanding, patience and endurance "because you must have these qualities to work with the elderly and handle certain situations when they arise."

Benjamin Charles said she is hoping to accommodate eight elderly citizens in the initial phase of her operation but that figure is likely to grow if additional space becomes available at Carbo Place.

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