Poor elderly care worries Dr. Benjamin

Dr. Benjamin
Dr. Benjamin

Consultant Psychiatric, Dr. Griffin Benjamin, is expressing concern about the level of care received by some of the elderly in the Dominican society.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a Mental Health Workshop for caregivers of the elderly, Dr. Benjamin said that the mental health of the elderly is a growing concern.

“We in the Ministry of Health realize that the professional skills that we have is not limited to only persons who are admitted to a hospital. We should do what our mandate asks which is to meet the people before they become ill,” he said. “Meet them in a community setting and prevent complications even if they are ill.”

He noted that care givers were being trained so they could improve their understanding which in turn, would help them identify emotional problems of the elderly and highlight ways and means to seek help when it is needed.

Also the workshop will provide the care givers with methods of coping so they could deal with the challenges that they may face when dealing with the elderly, according to Dr. Benjamin.

“Older persons are very important to our society and I believe that in times past older persons received better care than they receive today and I say that without any doubt because I know how I grew up and I know how much we surrounded our grandparents when they became 60 and above,” he pointed out. “How much they served a useful purpose of comforting you and reminding you of your values and ensuring that you did the right thing.”

He stated that today’s older people are not benefiting from that type of respect any more.

“We, as adults are migrating, or are too busy doing other things in our lives and we don’t pay attention to our older persons. This workshop addresses that deficit or gap. That fear that older persons are having of becoming 60 and beyond,” he said.

In the meantime, Social Worker, Lesley-Ann Waldron highlighted that various factors may affect the mental health of the elderly. Those factors include bereavement, physical disability, change in roles and maltreatment.

Waldron indicated that it is not recommended for mentally ill elderly people to be placed in the psychiatric unit but instead should be placed in a community or home setting.

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  1. Clever
    October 12, 2013

    Why are people using the word Geriatric…I prefer elderly…Geriatric is very stigmatising…back to the point of elderly, it is very sad that some people forget that we are here because of parents and grandparents, and because we no longer need them to care for our children… or maybe we feel that we have achieved and no longer need the that we should forget they exists. The bible says once a man twice a child…this means when they get older they are bit more demanding, we must learn to be patient with them, and more understanding, do not hold malice or become Vengeful towards our old parents…some people wait for their parents to get old so that they can abuse and neglect them…we as a people need to be forgiving and care for our elders…do not allow them to die of hunger or starvation…the Government do need to do their part also, to ensure that our elders are not neglected and that their caregivers are doing a good job by them…I thank God for parents and grand parents like mine…It is true, why should the state take care of elders who have families that are able to care for them…Some people do not have any shame, they neglect their parents whilst they continue to live a life of luxury….

    • Francisco Telemaque
      October 12, 2013

      The way the word geriatrics is construed, depends on who is using it, their educational background, and intelligence; truly when some older people are not bath and clean regularly they have a very strong body odor, hence some ignorant persons term that geriatrics!

      Nevertheless, geriatrics is a branch of health science, and care dealing with the problems of aging and diseases of the elderly. It is related to the science of gerontology, which is the study of the aging process in all its aspects, social as well as biologic.

      Geriatrics grows increasingly important as modern medicine, and a rising standard of living lengthen life expectancy, and increase the proportion of aged persons in society.

      An important part of geriatrics is concerned with helping older persons to live happy, satisfying lives. Geriatric specialists encourage their patients to follow useful and interesting pursuits, and to adapt a sound mental attitude toward aging itself.

      The prevention of disease is also important in geriatrics, and stress is placed on suitable exercise, rest, and nutrition, and on maintenance of proper body weight. Regular, and thorough medical examinations are another essential factor in the control of illness.

      In geriatrics, there is equal concern for the older person’s psychologic welfare; his social contacts, economic security, interest in living, work opportunities after retirement, and a continuing sense of belonging to society. Geriatrics recognizes that health of mind is essential to the health of the body.

      The above is all that is involved in the science of geriatrics, but in a place like Dominica, where most people do not try to investigate, and find out the meaning of what they hear, they use even medical terminologies to stigmatize themselves, and not knowing they are talking about themselves or the people they say they love.

      Just watch and see how many thumbs down I am going to get for my comments here, some may even response and call me a liar.


      Piece of work, that what many ignorant Dominicans are!

      Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  2. Concerned
    October 11, 2013

    Too many elderly people, some even with one leg, are walking the streets alone at nights. Where are their children and other family members? Where do these people sleep?

    It is heartbreaking to watch them try to find their way through the streets after dark. They can easily be taken advantage of or harmed. We should all share the responsibility for providing shelter and care for the homeless elderly people.

    October 11, 2013

    That’s what we need in Dominica a Geriatric wing at the hospital. Most time the elderly are very only, our people don’t have the time to visit and keep a conversation. Family members keep talking to your elderly family members and others in the community. Some suggestions once a month have an elderly day take them to a church, or hall, community center have games, music, exercise some refreshments. I work in a Geriatric center and these are some of the activities we do which keep the elderly connected this is very important. A nice warm bath, it doesn’t have to be every day. Also we know that it is very different today with our work schedule but if you take the time out in the day to take them for a short walk that also help. You don’t have to be a millioniare to take care of your elderly just a little attention.

    • LA GIRLS
      October 11, 2013

      Correction very lonely

  4. Sparky
    October 11, 2013

    My belief is that ADULT children who neglect their ailing/elderly Parents should be considered in breach of a Law. .
    Why should an ADULT who is financially able get away with what their parents, who were probable much more financially strapped, couldn’t get away with.
    Why should the Government (Our taxes) have to pay to take care of someone’s parent/s, whilst that person is out on a World Cruise.
    I do recognize that the elderly also need some personal touch and in that regard, I propose an ‘Adopt and Elderly’ program.
    This would benefit not just the adopted elderly, but also for the adoptive ‘Children’.

    • GNibbs
      October 11, 2013

      Hey Sparky today,s youth is not the same as yesterdays;moralty,respect and order has gone out of norm.As an adult one has to choose whats best to accommodate his God given rights, however the hall mark off success rest with God,s promise to those off who believe in HIM and His Words. Epecially, children should take note.He say,s ‘children honour thy father and thy mother that your days may be long in the Land that God giveth thee.
      I thimk as parents we have failed in our mission to instill those values in our youths, hence we reap what we have sown.

  5. Sparky
    October 11, 2013

    I feel very strongly that although Government should play a part, it should be the responsibility of children (ADULTS) to provide care for the elderly parents.
    If a parent who is able neglects their children they are taken to task . . They would be breaking the LAW.
    My belief is that ADULT children who neglect their ailing/elderly Parents should be considered in breach of a Law. .
    Why should a ADULT who is financiallyget away with

  6. T mama
    October 10, 2013

    FAMILIES have to take care of their people….Communities have to train persons to care for these persons in the community….and also to, persons are not giving love to the elderly..

  7. Da Sage
    October 10, 2013

    Our actions define our legacy.

  8. was a 79 bystander
    October 10, 2013

    My community has a few and trust me if it were not for yes we care program, you would smell their plight through DNO. And when I pay them a visit as a St. Vincent de Paul member all they doing is praying the rosary for Skewitt as one of them told me. I think children should look out for their parents.

  9. One Love
    October 10, 2013

    ” …. I believe that in times past older persons received better care than they receive today ….”
    Dr. Benjamin Thank you for your HONESTY . . . POOF there goes the much vaunted Yes WE CARE

  10. Tall
    October 10, 2013

    So true I see in north America where elderly
    Are care for with respect and dignity

  11. Jenny James
    October 10, 2013

    These peoples truly need more tenderness and cares!!!…They have worked hard all their lives..We should not turn our backs on them!!!..I have seen it..The elderly being ignored by family members….So not right!!..We have young girls leaving their kids for the granny to look after while they roam about….Not caring much…WAKE up DA peoples….Play your role..They did theirs..

  12. Francisco Telemaque
    October 10, 2013

    I know how I grew up and I know how much we surrounded our grandparents when they became 60 and above,” (Griffin Benjamin M.D.).

    Griffin, your sincerity protrudes out of the quote above, I know for a fact that you have not forgotten where you came from, and the way you; me and all the rest of our family was brought up to be caring, and concerned for the welfare of others; especially the sick and unfortunate.

    I remember the days of growing up, next door to each other; though I am a few years older than you; I left while you were yet a kid, but never once have I forgotten my soundings, where we lived.

    I am very proud to see that you have not assimilated yourself into the rat race of life, and you have not forgotten your roots, faithfully serving in the career you have chosen, and perused.

    I ask of you the next time you visit the village, look in on my sister Marie. She does not have any psychiatric issues, however, she has some medical issues contending with hyperglycemia, I a also hyperglycemic, however; I am not worried about me, as much as I am worried about her, since I am receiving the best treatment available here, which I know is not available in Domiinica.

    I know you are capable of dealing with such issues which you may have dealt with prior to specializing in psychiatry.

    I saw your mum, brother the (Methodist preacher), and sisters in NJ two years ago, they were at my brother Watts home celebrating one of my sisters birthday, we had a nice time, which gave me a chance to reminisced on the old days past.


    • coocoomayuck
      October 10, 2013

      phones were invented for a purpose..make use of it

    • Francisco Telemaque
      October 10, 2013

      Some of you people are so very sick, I am not sure that psychiatry treatment would be of any help to you. I am referring specifically to the four idiots who gave me the thumbs down.

      I would like one sing one of the four to write your name under anything you have to say concerning what I said in reference to Griffin, that constitute your venom!

      I am not buying him as a relative, because we are blood related, his late grandmother, his father’s mother is my biological aunt. We live next door for years while he was a kid, I am a few years older than him, I said so, and nothing can change that, all I can say anybody who have a problem with that all you have to do is go and hang yourself!

      The only way he can deny me, he would have to deny his grandmother Florie Telemaque, which I am sure he will never think of doing in a life time, grandmother and my late father’s father, were born to the same mother by the same father.

      Say I told you idiots how our relationship became established.

      You four are idiots who may need some psychiatric attention, and Griffin can provide you with that!

      Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  13. vieille case
    October 10, 2013

    YES we care for who the red voters

  14. grell
    October 10, 2013

    Sad am coming home for the festival and mostly all the elders in my community have passsed on,very sad. :cry:

  15. GNIbbs
    October 10, 2013

    I do pray DR. benjamin that you will use the merits of your good office, together with the ministry off health and other and other learned persons to offer advise to the Prime Minster to so inform the chinese mission to include a Geriatric wing in the proposed new hospital and to initiate training for nurses centered on Care Off The Elderly.

      October 10, 2013

      Very good feedback . A Geriatric wing is a MUST considering that Dominica has a few centenarians and we live longer. Increase rate of senior citizens. We have to care for our senior citizens and the elderly!!! Not just lip service, but action.

      Concerned Dominican

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