The establishment of a senior citizens' day care is on the agenda for the WAVES (Women Adding Value To The Elders) Foundation, and it has received the support of THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael.
On Wednesday, president of the Tobago-based organisation Janice George-Berkeley made the announcement at a luncheon for seniors at Brown Cow Restaurant in Crown Point.
George-Berkeley said the lunch formed part of the commemorative events for World Senior Citizens Day on August 21.
She said: “We want to establish a senior citizens' day care. Just like how you would have a day care for babies; you drop them off, you go to work, you pick them up in the afternoon. We know that there are families with challenges when it comes to taking care of their parents – the elderly – so if they can have a place where they leave them when they go to work...
"They are taken care of, they get a meal, they rest, they have little fun and then in the afternoon they pick them back up. Then we can take away that burden from them.”
BYisrael pledged the division’s support.
“Actually, I thought that was a fantastic idea when we spoke about it and it definitely is something that we would love to support. We actually firmly believe that a lot of the work that needs to be done should not be done by government, but government should support those.”
The non-profit foundation was established on March 27 and aimed at making the elderly feel valued and loved.
WAVES began its commemoration activities last week by treating residents of St Vincent de Paul Home at Mason Hall with cake and ice cream, and on Friday, the Peace of Mind Home at Tranquillity Heights in Signal Hill will be entertained.
Other activities include manicures and pedicures and distribution of care packages.
BYisrael commended WAVES on the programme.
“Initiatives like these actually make my job so much easier. This is one of those situations where we weigh the positives and look at how we can affect people’s lives.”
She said the last couple of months have been “pretty difficult as it relates to treating with our seniors,” making specific mention of the July rescue and relocation of residents from a seniors’ home on the western part of the island.
“This was actually part of a wider process that includes us ensuring that all spaces, particularly homes, are actually licensed according to law because there is a Private Hospitals Act that governs home for the aged. So we’ve started that process where we are going to be doing the inspections and ensuring that those that are already on the ground meet the minimum standards so that they can be licensed.”
She said the Facilities Review Committee will help some institutions who "need a little bit of help" to meet the benchmark.
She said the aim is not to shut down homes, but “the aim is to ensure that everybody lifts their standard to that they can provide the needed service.”