Council members visit old people’s homes


29-March-2012

Mrs Mathiot leading members of the National Council for the Elderly at the La Retraite home

They also visited the Home for the Elderly at North East Point, which since 2007 has replaced the Fiennes Institute at Plaisance.

All homes come under the jurisdiction of the Agency for Social Protection which is headed by chief executive Jacqueline Pierre.

The council’s first stop was at North East Point, where the Home for the Elderly has 144 patients – 43 women and 101 men.
It is headed by Isabelle Joubert – an experienced nurse – who is helped by 11 other nurses, 28 health carers and 17 ward staff.

The home houses elderly people who cannot take care of themselves and are mostly highly dependent on others.

Ms Joubert said the residents’ social security allocations help pay for their care at the home. But they are allowed a R100 allocation weekly, which they use for shopping.

Responding to queries that some patients have been reported going to nearby shops to buy alcoholic beverages, Ms Joubert said there is a security gate to restrict movement. “At the same time, we do not regard them as prisoners held against their will,” she said adding some are allowed to have a drink or two, so long as they do not cause a nuisance.

Ms Joubert admitted the home is suffering from some overcrowded, shown by the fact that most rooms have three or more beds.
Responding to a question as to why the number of male inmates more than doubled females, Ms Joubert said it appears that men have more of a tendency to be uncaring about children, who ultimately refuse to acknowledge them when they get old.

She said, on the other hand, some children are also ungrateful and unfeeling.
“We have even had elderly patients dumped at our gate, as the children were just not interested to care for them.”
Ms Joubert is of the opinion that rejection by some children of elderly members of their families, could prompt rebellious feelings among some patients. She added that the home has had to contend with some “escapes” but luckily there has been nothing serious to date.

She launched an appeal for family members to show that they care more for their elderly by visiting them more often.

Members of the National Council for the Elderly talking to a resident at the Home for the Elderly at North East Point

Still at the North East Point home, the Nation reporter was glad to meet a rather youthful former colleague, who had worked for the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation and bad been unfortunate to break his leg. The young man sounded upbeat and was working on his computer, presumably writing something great, which he did not want to disclose at this stage.

At the La Retraite Home in Anse Etoile, the council learned that four of the 20 housing units are vacant, but expect to be occupied in due course.

The elderly housed there are those who are still physically strong and independent to cater for themselves for example by cooking their own meals.

Some of them pass the time doing more than that – going into activities, such as gardening.  That is the case of Maude Larue, a 78-year-old widow, who was a seamstress in her younger days. She now has a flourishing flower garden around her home.

Each unit consists of a sitting area, bedroom, toilet-bathroom and kitchen, for which the resident pays R400 monthly from the Social Security allocation and is allowed to keep the rest for food and other expenses. Public utilities, such as water and electricity are covered by the small rent.

The home at English River has 14 units and is managed by Ms Venise Clarisse, a nurse with 42 years’ experience. She told the council members and the press that the home is fully occupied.

Ms Clarisse said any money left over after shopping is spent by the resident as they wish, such as paying for a taxi to go to church.
 
She said that the seven men and seven women are encouraged to take up recreational activities, such as watching television, reading and gardening to keep them fully occupied.

Former Anse Etoile member of the National Assembly Anne-Marie Mathiot who is now the chairperson of the homes for elderly said there are seven other such institutions at: Plaisance, Pointe Larue, Au Cap, Anse Royale, Anse Boileau, Grand Anse Praslin and La Digue.

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