The month of Older Persons in St. Kitts and Nevis is observed every October, which is an extension of the United Nations official celebration of International Day of Older Persons celebrated on October 01 annually.
While appearing on the Government’s Weekly Programme, “Working for You”, on October 03, Acting Director in the Department of Social Services and Community Development, Mrs. Ann Wigley, said that families should be more sensitive to their older family members and take responsibility for their care rather than leaving it solely to the department’s homecare officers.
“The family role is to care and we assist. We are not the family so you must care for them and we will do our best to help,” she said.
She said that homecare officers are very enthusiastic about their work although it proves challenging at times, but they would like families to do their part. She said the officers go beyond the call of duty to ensure that these older persons are well cared for with assistance including grooming, personal hygiene maintenance, meal preparation and doctor visits.
“This is one of our biggest challenges and we are pleading with the family to look after their loved ones,” she said.
Home Care Officer of 17 years, Ms. Andrea Caines, reiterated the duty for families to get involved.
“It messes with us, the homecare officers mentally because we are only there to help and we assist in bathing, combing of hair, and preparing light meals. We are pleading to the families out there to pull their weight,” she said.
Individuals must be 62 or older to qualify as a senior in the homecare programme following an assessment to determine their medical history.