Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
Approximately $4 million has been spent by the Golden Age Home (GAH) in Kingston and St Andrew to retrofit four bathrooms, making them more accessible and functional for residents with disabilities.
The money was part of a $10.5-million allocation from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security aimed at assisting the management of the GAH to achieve its objective of strengthening institutional capacity and improving operational efficiency. The home for elderly and indigent citizens falls under the administration of the ministry.
General manager at the home, Laurette Adams-Thomas, revealed that emphasis was placed on retrofitting two bathrooms at Cluster D, one at Cluster E and the other at Cluster G, all of which house residents who are physically challenged and incontinent.
The newly retrofitted bathrooms now assist in making the bathing process safer, easier and more comfortable as adequate room is available for residents to manoeuvre in shower chairs. Additionally, the level of independence among residents has been significantly boosted, given the greater flexibility transferring from their wheelchairs to the toilet area, as well as accessing the face basins.
Adams-Thomas pointed out that the staff members are also highly appreciative of the retrofitted bathrooms, given the reduction in physical strain experienced to assist residents in their daily bathing routines.
The Golden Age Home executive had high praises for the management team at the ministry for the additional financial assistance provided.
"We are thankful for the foresight of the team at the ministry in making this money available, enabling us to provide an institution that caters to the holistic development of needy senior citizens and other vulnerable persons. The permanent secretary and his team did their best to source funds to assist with this critical project," said Adams-Thomas.
She also lauded the employees at the home, who are described as "totally committed to providing quality resident-care services and a comfortable, secure home-like environment".
Meanwhile, plans are far advanced for the acquisition of a generator/standby facility at the home, and the reconfiguration of the electrical system to facilitate this generator. It is hoped that these projects will be completed by the end of the current financial year.
Last November, the home launched its self-sufficiency programme for more than 400 residents. This was designed to facilitate and stimulate their physical and intellectual capacities, function as an occupational therapeutic treatment and assist in increasing the level of motivation and self-worth by capitalising on skill sets that residents are most passionate about honing or acquiring. A Resident Skills Centre provides space for creative activities.
The Golden Age Home has been in operation for over 26 years, and was established to provide residential care for indigent persons in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew.