Wednesday, March 25, 2020
By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
OPERATORS of senior citizens homes are appealing to the government and the public for donations to help them get through the COVID-19 lockdown.
While the homes have suspended visits from the public to protect vulnerable residents from the deadly disease, officials say food, adult diapers and protective medical gear like gloves and masks are desperately needed.
Rev Dr Kendal Capron, of Good Samaritan Senior Citizens Home, said staff will be happy to accept donations at the building’s front gate. He also said the home’s phone has been disconnected and expressed anger it occurred during a national crisis.
“We are low on food and Depends (adult diapers),” Rev Capron said. “Even though we took the precautionary measures, we have no more masks. We are accepting all donations at this time and even though we can’t let anyone into the home, staff will come to the gate to collect. We are in urgent need of help.
“One of the challenges we face right now is that our telephone has been disconnected. We went to pay the bill and the office is closed. How can they turn off a phone to a place like this at a time like this? If we have an emergency how can we call out? This is not right,” he said.
He said he hopes the home will get help from the Department of Social Services.
Meanwhile, Unity House is running short of gloves and masks, founder and administrator Rev Janet Smith-Butler told The Tribune. She too thought the government would have offered some assistance to senior citizen homes.
“We have done everything the Ministry of Health has advised us to do,” Rev Smith-Butler said. “I thought the government was going to assist us. I really did, but instead I had to go on my personal account to make sure we had things at the home. We stocked up on vinegar and baking soda to help with cleaning and got some of the necessities to get us through.
“Our patients are secure and our staff are practicing all the good sanitary measures to keep us all safe from this virus. As the government has advised us, we are all taking this very, very seriously. Most importantly, I advised staff to make sure our residents are comfortable and not put in a state of panic. So we are just following all the guidelines and making sure they understand what is going on around them without making them panic.”
Pat Moxey, of Pat’s Senior Citizens Home, said residents at the facility are doing well, but she too lamented the fact that the government has not offered more assistance with getting needed supplies.
“We have beds that we can offer the government for those who are actual boarders at the hospital,” said Ms Moxey. “We have a mini-hospital here and we are ready to assist. We have lots of spare beds here and we ask the minister of health to come and see us because we can help.
“We are, for the most part, doing okay, but I am disappointed that there is no assistance for us from (Department of) Social Services. The government has only called and told us what to do in terms of precautionary measures but we wish they would offer some sort of assistance in regards to the virus and the lockdown. Even though I saw to it that we had proper provisions in terms of food etc, we can use more supplies. We should have had some assistance. I made sure the residents here had enough fruits and vegetables, but we could use more things.”
Ms Moxey said Pat’s Senior Citizen’s Home is sanitised three times a day and all staff are medical professionals. She said staff take all the precautionary measures to sanitise before they have entered the home and while they are there. Visitation at Pat’s has been suspended during the lockdown.
Health experts have said the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions are more likely to die if they contract the disease.