GARP concerned over mistreatment and abuse of elderly

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Physical and emotional mistreatment of the elderly, of great concern to GARP
  • Early signs of Alzheimer’s can cause elderly to become irritable
  • GARP seeking storage container for anticipated health supplies from Canada

The physical and emotional mistreatment of the elderly, many of whom may or may not be suffering from early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, is of great concern for the Grenada Association of Retired Persons (GARP).

Maudlin Williams, a long-standing member of GARP, said the moral values of respect for senior citizens are declining as the generation gap widens and as such, the elderly in Grenada are increasingly being subjected to mistreatment and even physical abuse in some cases. “We tend to forget that they are humans. It’s just that they are slow in a lot of things especially the ones with Alzheimer’s. Some people don’t understand the early signs of Alzheimer’s, which can cause them to become irritable and they do crazy things and people tend to forget and treat them unkind and that is wrong.”

People with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain diseases are statistically more vulnerable to abuse, which in some cases may not be easily detectable since they are unable to recall such incidences of abuse or coherently discuss their feelings.

Williams is disheartened to see that even senior citizens without any degenerative brain disease still suffer from abuse and neglect from the younger generation, coupled with having to face the lack of respect and patience needed to interact with them. “We need to bond the youths in secondary schools with elderly, that will be very important if they play a part in their community to visit the older homes and listen to the experiences of the elderly, comb their hair and engage in other bonding activities. That can make a big difference since they can cultivate respect for the older people and likewise the older people will appreciate them.”

Apart from abuse and neglect, the elderly in Grenada face many other challenges post-retirement. These challenges, Williams said, stem from their lack of preparedness for retirement. “A lot of retirees are suffering because they are ill-prepared for retirement and did not put aside money that will assist them in their senior years. Now, this is why we need to educate our youths, otherwise, the cycle will continue to repeat itself.”

Established in 2011, GARP, located on Kirani James Boulevard, seeks to improve the quality of life of retirees by promoting various activities that are tailored specifically for people over the age of 50. GARP is presently awaiting $1 million of health supplies from Canada including mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs, that will be distributed to senior citizens in need. In this regard, the organisation is soliciting the support of the business community to make available a shipping container to store these supplies.

The organisation also stages health clinics for people suffering from diabetes, and assist senior nursing homes to improve the quality of service rendered to residents. A recent project at the Hillsview Home for the Aged in Gouyave, donated clothing, a dryer and trained the staff to be better able at financial recordkeeping.


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