168 elders reside in different old age centres due to family conflicts, lack of care, support and being neglected

168 elders reside in different old age centres due to family conflicts, lack of care, support and being neglected

By Karishma Kumari
Monday 29/01/2024
[Image: Supplied]

168 elderly people are residing in different old age centres around the country due to family conflicts, and lack of support and care from family members.

This was highlighted by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Protection which says this is due to children working and also having no immediate family or external family members and relatives to cater for their medical needs.

According to the Ministry, there are 28 people residing in the Father Law Home in Lami, 49 people at the Golden Age Home in Suva, 28 at the Golden Age Home in Labasa, 36 at the Golden Age Home in Lautoka and 27 at the HART Nursing Home.

They say this is also due to cases of older persons found on the streets and taken for medical treatment, and upon their discharge, they are being admitted to Old Age Care Homes.

The Ministry says there are cases where families admit or drop older persons for treatment at either St. Giles Hospital or Divisional hospitals, and do not visit them, or pick them up when discharged.

The Ministry adds some of the challenges faced by these elderly people staying at these centres are transitioning from being in a family setup to being in an institutional setup, broken promises from family members who promise to visit, call or return to take them back home and few who do not like having a structured routine.

They say older persons need the same love, care and understanding when they grow old as they have served their time looking after their children supporting them with their needs and many times sacrificing to ensure they get the best education.

The Ministry therefore is encouraging families and children to provide these elderly people with the same care and support.

The Ministry further says that Fiji’s Disability Monograph which was published by the Pacific Community and Fiji Bureau of Statistics highlighted that the prevalence of disability increases as we get older and the primary caregivers of any older persons are their children and their immediate family members.

They say if the state is providing this care, then the breakdown in family values needs to be addressed as this is the core of any family, community, society and nation.

The Ministry also says that the main challenges faced by staff at these State Old Age Care Institutions are dealing with cases that need special care which they are not trained for.

They say high staff turnover as the caregivers have resigned to join employment abroad due to better pay and lack of commitment from family members on the promises they make to our residents are also some of the challenges that these staff face.

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