Caring for the elderly and orphans 

Dear Editor,

Thank you for affording me the space to recognize the proprietors and caregivers at homes for the elderly and orphans throughout the country.

Having visited several of these homes on a regular basis, I am moved by the dedication and compassion of these caring people.

Unfortunately, a lot of us do not appreciate the work being done in these homes. Most of these homes are private and are funded by loved ones of the residents with minimal support from the government.

In most cases, the main contribution is the monthly pensions from NIB. It is noted that it costs the government thousands of dollars a year for each prisoner behind bars. We are talking about young, healthy men and women.

Can you imagine the cost for each elderly and fragile person in these homes? We are talking about seniors who have to be looked after 24/7; folks who have to be cared for as we do a newborn baby.

They have to be fed and given a bath three/four times a day, sometimes more because the majority of them are in sanitary undergarments.

The majority of residents in these homes are placed there by relatives who love and care about them, but lack the means and ways to take care of them the way they would like to. These relatives make every effort to ensure their loved ones are placed in homes where they will be looked after around the clock.

They spend quality time with them at every opportunity, bathing and feeding them daily, paying for their care while hurting to know they can’t do more. But in some cases, there are folks who have been abandoned completely. This is where NIB comes in.

Truth be told, the pearls most neglected are the ones whose relatives are in a position to take care of them. I know some of us are thinking that some children turn their backs on parents because of the way they were treated while young, but are they taking into consideration the circumstances that brought about the situation?

No sane parent sets out to deliberately neglect their child. Unfortunately, some people are caught up in drugs and alcohol which places them in a downward spiral that causes them to lose control.

There are not only elderly in these homes; there are also orphans, some severely handicapped, who can do absolutely nothing for themselves.

They, too, are left there by families who never looked back. What about them? Who did they hurt?

The last time I visited the Children’s Emergency Hostel, it had 38 children, some severely handicapped. What about them?

I say thank you and congratulations to the many families who have not turned their backs on their elderly and handicapped loved ones and to the many donors who contribute on a regular basis in making lives better for folks in the homes. God bless you.

Every day on our streets, you can see disheveled individuals asking for a little charity and when they approach our car, we roll up the glass. Has it ever occurred to us that by giving them a little of the change in our ashtray once in a while, we are giving them hope and one day they may be able to repay us?

Well, maybe not them but our Heavenly Father who said “the least you do unto them you do unto me”.

Are we looking at the bigger picture? Every day, some young person is taken before a magistrate charged with crimes.

Parents spend sleepless nights worrying about where their children may be. Boys are sleeping in abandoned cars because they were locked out of their homes at night for staying out late. Many of them turn to gangs where they are welcomed.

People, don’t you understand the child needs a helping hand or some day he is going to grow up to be an angry young man?

Teenaged girls are thrown out because they got pregnant. What is to become of them?

Roberta Flack talked about them in “Tradewinds”: “Young girls who’ll soon become streetwalkers in the night. Young boys, the restless breed looking for a fight. Children both rich and poor, they’re searching for the truth; If they don’t find it, God help tomorrow’s youth.”

The young man you refused to let into the house is now standing in front of the judge or dead. The pregnant girl is out selling her body for a hit. The eldest of her children is left to look after his younger siblings.

The beggar you did not give a little spare change to is armed and about to break into your home. What are you going to do?

A sad fact is that there are many widows and orphans in The Bahamas who are left to fend for themselves. But what a lot of us have forgotten is that we are mandated by God to have an active role in providing for the underprivileged. It is our Christian duty, relatives or not.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions.”


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