More Americans Than Ever Are Living Past 100…And 80% of them are Women... In 2014, there were 72,197 centenarians in the USA.

The death rate among this group fell in 2014—14% for women and 20% for men. In 2014, around one in every three centenarians died. The top five causes for death were heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cancer, and influenza and pneumonia.

As Baby Boomers retire, the number of elderly people in America is expected to reach record levels. By 2050, the number of people 65 years and older is expected to hit 83.7 million—almost double the number of seniors in 2012.The significant growth in older Americans presents a number of challenges, such as a doctor shortage as a result of the population’s increased need, and the huge draw on Medicare and Social Security resources.


The Ministry of Planning and Development, recognizing the value of an integrated approach to meeting the needs of the elderly initiated collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, the Ministry of Health and the Tobago House of Assembly to garner further insight into the matter at hand.

The objectives of the project are:

* To adopt and implement standards which will guide the development of new homes for the elderly.

* To establish the necessary protocols in the application processes with other sister agencies and create a referendum of understanding between these core agencies in order to monitor the spate of development and the solidify the importance of sound urban and regional planning of these homes which are to benefit the elderly, the caregivers, agencies and the country as a whole.

The “Homes for Older Persons Act No. 20 of 2007 places responsibility for, inter alia, inspection and standards of care for Homes for Older Persons under the ambit of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services. The adoption of building codes by Home owners will not only demonstrate compliance to standards
and legislation but will –

* Promote independence and dignity of older persons in institutionalized care

* Balances residents’ functional abilities with a manageable work environment for staff

* Support the appropriate level of care required by residents

* Meet the dynamic and changing needs of older persons

* Enables future alterations to be conducted with minimal cost

* Reassure family and relatives that their loved ones are in a carefully designed environment that minimizes the incidence of falls and other causes of injuries.

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services is on board to collaborate and do what is necessary to contribute to the world class care of our elderly citizens.'s%20Feature%20Address%2012-08-2016.pdf


• Lack of physical activity — Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased bone mass, loss of balance, and reduced flexibility.

• Impaired vision — This includes age-related vision diseases, as well as not wearing glasses that have been prescribed.

• Medications — Sedatives, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic drugs, plus taking multiple medications are all implicated in increasing risk of falling.

• Diseases — Health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Arthritis, cause weakness in the extremities, poor grip strength, balance disorders and cognitive impairment.

• Surgeries — Hip and knee replacements along with other surgeries, leave an elderly person weak, in pain and discomfort. Sometimes, they are less mobile than they were before the surgery. Walking aids are usually recommended, but many of them believe that maintaining their independence is not using an aid.

• Environmental hazards. — One third of falls in the elderly population involve hazards at home. Factors include poor lighting, loose carpets, uneven tiling, and lack of safety equipment or adaptation devices. ​


“Falls are one of the most common causes of injury for older individuals and as the world population ages, the number of fall-related injuries are projected to increase rapidly ” said lead author Rebecca Mitchell.

Mitchell and her colleagues wanted to determine whether overweight and obesity added to the risk of falling among older adults, as well as the risk of being injured in a fall.  There are a number of common risk factors that can increase any any older person’s risk of falling, she added.

“These can include individual factors such as: poor health, instability when standing or walking, some health conditions, such as poor vision or dementia, lack of physical activity, use of multiple medications that can affect balance,  and a poor diet,” Mitchell said.

Risks can also be in an older person’s environment, including  “uneven or slippery floors, unsecured floor coverings, such as rugs, inappropriate footwear or eyewear, or inadequate lighting, ” she said.


Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle in more advanced years provides a wealth of benefits to general well-being and make you generally happier and less depressed.

The elderly improve their physical and mental health by simply avoiding sitting down as much as they can. Too much sitting or lying down is linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and death, even if they are physically active at other times.

Just 27 minutes less sitting per day produces significant benefits. The elderly need to be educated about the positive effects of being more active. Older people spend an average of 8.5 waking hours a day sitting or lying down.

Dumping the Elderly on the rise in Trinidad and Tobago

Director of the Division of Ageing Dr Jennifer Rouse said she was expected to have a meeting with the Ministry of Health soon to hold discussions about elderly people living in the hospitals. Rouse said they are being called upon because most of the needs of the elderly are social.

Rouse said one pensioner has been living at St James Medical Complex for 30 years. She said shifting them from the hospital would cause disorientation because they had created a bond with the nurses, doctors and other patients. “These people have no relatives.”

Every year, in the weeks after Carnival doctors put out a bulletin in the newspapers advising people to collect their relatives who have been abandoned at the hospital. This abandonment, Rouse said, is a form of abuse. Rouse admitted that some of the elderly have been occupying beds “so they are calling on us to see if there is room at some of the public homes. We in turn would have to call the homes to find out if there are rooms available.”

Out of the 131 homes listed in T&T, Rouse said 85 are in operation and that Government subventions are being given to nine. If there are insufficient rooms at the home, Rouse said, the elderly would be shifted to St Vincent De Paul and the Salvation Army or would have to remain at the hospitals, until better can be done. Rouse said the public was unaware of what is going on.

Residential care needed for the elderly According to Rouse, it shows that infrastructure and long-term residential care are needed for the elderly, which numbers 156,000 in T&T. Each year, the elderly population increases by one per cent. Of this figure, more the 400 are centenarians. “You must have the infrastructure when you are decanting people. We are envisaging to put down model homes like residential care, which has to be done collaboratively with the Government and the private sector.”

Elderly Must Not be Treated as Burdens

Senior citizens should no longer be treated as burdens, but rather as assets with skills and experience that can be used to build a sustainable Trinidad and Tobago. This is according to Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh. He was speaking at the opening of a senior activity centre, Isaiah Temple Jeewan Sudhar Ashram Penal Senior Activity Centre at Clark Road, Penal, on Friday.


“So many persons over the age of 60 have no one to speak to; no one to tell them how special or how great they are and worst of all, there is no one who lights up whenever they walk into a room. This is why senior activity centres like this one, especially in this community are so important,” he said.

Ramadharsingh said the Government policies and programmes must be designed and adapted to meet the realities of the world that we live in today.

“Today brings new opportunity and hope for the people of  Penal. The opening of this centre ensures that we promote the active participation of our seniors in society and in development,” he said. Ramadharsingh said senior citizens will enjoy dancing, karate, meditation and other activities at the centres.  “This centre will allow the seniors to be socially engaged and linked to needed services. It assists in alleviating risk of social isolation, which  we know in turn puts our seniors at a higher level of vulnerability and marginalisation, especially when we  consider other factors like deteriorating health and psychosocial well-being,” he said.

Ramadharsingh said lonely, isolated seniors can now gain access to activities that promote social interaction, friendship, mutual help and neighbourliness in the community.

Bringing Elderly Mental Health to the Fore

There were a number of discussions about mental health and the older adult. The association targeted caregivers and the relatives of mentally ill older adults. A lot of information was passed on about how to interpret behaviours of older patients, and how to respond to erratic behaviour.


In addition to providing services for the mentally ill, there are also services available for the relatives of mentally ill older adults. Partnering with the Ministry of Social Development, topic appropriate support can be provided. 


According to Dr Murphy, as a person ages, it is important to be in constant conference with their general practitioner. 


“Sometimes a relative might think the elderly person is having a mental issue, but it is simply medical. A GP can diagnose and give a referral if they suspect that there are underpinning mental health issues.

Sometimes the patient may only require counselling, while medication is needed in other circumstances, but the sooner you find out, the better.”© Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved.

TRINIDAD: Old age homes face closure with new law

Several homes for elderly people are facing closure as government prepares to pass laws governing their operations. The new laws call for proper ventilation, sufficient bathrooms and bedroom space for each resident. The Ageing Department also specified that managers of the Homes must

be over the age of 25 and no more than 65 years. Another clause that has found disfavour with the group was a plan to place residents in categories such as stage one, two and three according to their physical condition. It was based on observations which
showed that those who suffered with diseases required specialized care and facilities not available at most of the homes. By setting up three categories of homes, residents would receive the necessary care, government officials argued.

Elder Abuse Increasing in Trinidad & Tobago

Speaking on CTV's First Up Programme on Thursday, she said the growing elderly population is increasingly vulnerable and because only 3% of the elderly is cared for at Old Aged Homes, the abuser is often a family member.

"Elderly abuse is a very sensitive area, just based on the nature of it and as a result, we know it is under-reported. Just from some of the cases through our help desk in the Division, the highest area of abuse is over property from their relatives."

Elder Abuse

Dr Rouse, who holds a double major in Social Work and a PhD in Ageing, was very instrumental in bringing about changes recently adopted bythe Ministry of Social Development. Dr Rouse expressed concern about the rising number of cases of “elder abuse” in Trinidad and Tobago.

She said factors that might be contributing to this included smaller families, the modernisation of family values, immigration and low mortality and birth rates, all of which significantly reduce the pool of potential caregivers for the elderly.

Dr Rouse went on to list several plans by the ministry to ensure the elderly received good care. Some of these plans were: “Meals on Wheels”, a service that would deliver hot meals to elderly persons in need of  this service; and the regulation of senior citizens homes, as there were over 103 homes in Trinidad with only half that number registered. This latter action was very crucial, Dr. Rouse said, as many of these “homes” did not adhere to the prescribed requirements for the running of such a facility.

She also raised the very important issue of health care for the elderly, stating that the elderly currently had no specific rights to health care. She also spoke of the discrimination faced by elderly persons.

Expats with Elderly Parents to Care For

With the growth of the aging population reaching record highs, are companies today addressing elder care in their expat policies?


According to Joy Loverde, author of The Complete Eldercare Planner, "Employees are not likely to bring the issue of elder care up for fear of being perceived as not promotable and unavailable." Elder care will eventually become as acceptable as childcare issues are today and "what companies offer will be as different as the companies themselves" predicts Loverde.


With the rising population of the elderly and families' commitments to providing elder care, the multiple roles that employees have to balance will continue to rise. Human resource professionals and senior management are well aware that the issue of elder care is just around the corner.

Caring for the chronically ill elderly in Trinidad: the informal situation.

J M Rawlins


​ABSTRACT This paper comments on research data, from a survey, which sought to determine the health and social circumstances of persons in Trinidad who were providing informal care for the chronically ill elderly during the period, March to August 1998. The research also sought to ascertain the main concerns of the caregivers in their caregiving role. One hundred caregivers in North, Central and South Trinidad were chosen using a convenience sampling method.


Caregivers selected had to be at least eighteen years old and residing in their own homes or in the home of the cared. The caregivers ranged in age from 20-89 years. Eighty two percent of the caregivers were females. Wives, daughters and daughters-in-law were the main caregivers. Daughters-in-law were especially instrumental in providing informal care in Indo-Trinidadian households being 28% of caregivers in those households compared to 4% for daughters-in-laws in Afro-Trinidadian households. Fifty percent of the caregivers reported their health to be good. The main health conditions  reported  by the others were hypertension (14%), diabetes mellitus (9%) and arthritis (18%). The main concern which the caregivers reported was stress (50%). The study revealed that caregiving was perceived by most of these caregivers to be extremely stressful.

Daughters, daughters-in-law and wives bore the greatest burden of care and desired greater assistance from family members and friends. The paper makes reference to a government programme which trains young adults to work with the chronically ill elderly, in their own home. It makes a case for the greater use of such young persons in order to relieve relatives of some of the burden of care.

The West Indian medical journal (Impact Factor: 0.32).   07/2001; 50(2):133-6.   Source: PubMed 

Taking Care of Our Elderly

By Dr Maxwell Adeyemi

Abuse and neglect range from actual physical beatings to total ignorance of needed care.

Types of Abuse

• Physical Abuse is the infliction of physical harm; this includes beating, burns, physical restraints, threats of harm.

• Physical neglect is the refusal to assist elderly persons with needed personal care or to provide elders with access to necessary food, clothing and medical treatment.

• Psychological abuse includes verbal assaults (yelling, insults, infantilization) and threats which include fear but they do not involve the use of a weapon.

• Psychological neglect includes isolation, lack of attention and deprivation of companionship or social contact.

• Material abuse involved theft or misuse of the elderly person's money or property without their consent.

• Violation of rights include acts such as forcing elderly person's to move into a nursing home against their will, prohibiting marriage or preventing free use of their own money.

The majority of victims suffer from more than one type of abuse or neglect. Not only does one incident lead to another, but the occurrence of one form of abuse or neglect appears to provoke other forms.

Needs of the Elderly

• Social needs: One thing that you should keep in mind is to shower all your love and care on your relative or family member. Just because they have become old and slow, does not mean that you should ignore them or let   them be confined to themselves or abandoned in senior citizens' home. Remember, a few years down the time,  you will be in their position. So spend time with them, chat with them and make them feel wanted, cared for and loved.

• Financial Needs: The elderly need to fend for themselves for everything such as food, groceries, medicines, especially when living alone. Therefore they need to be financially supported not only by the state but also by family members.

• Health care requirement: Elderly people are prone to a few age-related health issues, with advancing age, the body tends to slow down and become less efficient, this is a normal aspect of life and one cannot help it. We need to anticipate it, understand and manage it.

• Dietary needs: As people age, their digestive system gradually starts weakening, they start finding certain foods indigestible or difficult to digest, Hence diet can no longer be the same as it was. Their diet should now be modified accordingly such that it remain a nutritious, balanced diet and yet contains foodstuff that their system is able to accept; sometimes their diet needs will have to be altered depending on their medicinal prescriptions.

• Nursing Needs: If the elderly person's mobility has become limited due to ageing, they would require a certain amount of assistance in their daily routine.

• Respect for the elderly: Elderly persons represent a constituency of persons who have been around on the horizon longer and therefore posses some wealth of knowledge and wisdom that younger generations can draw from. They deserve care, respect, attention and encouragement.

One Youth Organization Touching The Hearts Of The Elderly In Trinidad and Tobago.

One local youth organization “Youth Voices” is doing something. They have rallied teams of youths to visit the elderly and share some life with them. To give back, transfer some of that youthful energy to a complete stranger. By sharing quality time with the elderly two things happen.


The elderly is totally overjoyed to interact with youths who are respectful, inquisitive and caring. Sadly it’s an oasis in a dry parched desert. They also get an opportunity to get some chores done around the house that would most likely not be left for years in it’s present state.


150 centenarians, with a cumulative age of over 1,500 years were honoured yesterday at the annual Salutation to Centenarians ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain.

The Ministry of the People and Social Development through the division of Ageing honoured Trinidadians over the age of 100, saying the Salutations to the Centenarians programme sought to elevate elders as worthy and resourceful members of society, who continue to contribute to the success of the nation.

The youngest of the honorees was 100 with the eldest being 108. In an address at the function, Prime Minister and Minister of the People Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she was advised that a minimum of 13.4 percent of the nation’s population are considered aged, while more than 20,000 nationals are over the age of 80. The elders were given a certificate of recognition and a token of appreciation, to commemorate their many years of contribution to the country as law-abiding citizens, professionals, civil servants, businessmen, parents and as social leaders.

The Prime Minister said in her feature address the Ministry will be revising legislature that will regulate the building of homes for the elderly. “We do need more care as the legislation was passed many years ago and the ministry has been hosting consultations for us to see how to better regulate the construction of homes for the elderly.

“This along with the other initiatives introduced will better support the elderly, we hope you will understand that we truly believe
in our promise to make all lives better,” Persad-Bissessar said.


Alleyne-Toppin sends warning: Jail for ELDERLY abusers.

Alleyne-Toppin said the ministry is working on more stringent laws to add to the Homes for Older Persons Legislation Act of 2007. Alleyne-Toppin said section 31:2 of the draft legislation states that a relative or member of the public can report a case of abuse to the Inspectorate in the Ageing Division. “The Inspectorate is duty bound to investigate it and report it to the police.”

Alleyne-Toppin said while this legislation is in the making, people can still report cases of elder abuse to the Ageing Division. “We are encouraging relatives and members of the public to report cases of abuse at senior citizens’ homes. There are things we can do even now.”

Defining abuse according to the act, she said, a person who has an older person in her care and wilfully assaults, illtreats or neglects him/her, or exposes him/her to such, will be culpable of abuse.

Information, Updates and Developments on Elderly Care...Nursing Home Quality, Senior Health Improvements and Geriatric Social Care Provision in Trinidad and Tobago.


Elderly and disabled people may be put at risk because of inadequate training for nursing home care workers.

Nursing home care workers are increasingly being asked to perform procedures that would previously have only been carried out by registered nurses.

Many care assistants in nursing homes are administering medication, such as morphine or insulin, and have received no training. Lack of training could lead to fatal overdoses, and leave the needy in significant discomfort and vulnerable to infections.

Many are also caring for people who suffer from dementia, and have received no training in how to work with people with the illness.

Ask the right questions on the training and experience of those caring for your loved ones. You owe it to them.

World's Oldest Man Dies at 112 

The world's oldest man, a Japanese, died Tuesday at the age of 112 after suffering chronic heart problems, officials said. Yasutaro Koide had said his secret to a long life was not to smoke, drink or overdo it.

Koide, who was born on March 13, 1903, died two months short of his 113th birthday. In the year he was born, the Wright brothers made their historic first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and a modernizing Japan was embroiled in a dispute with Russia over Manchuria that would erupt into the Russo-Japanese War in 1904.

Koide (pronounced "Ko-ee-deh") worked as a tailor when he was younger. He was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest man last August.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said he died at hospital in Nagoya, central Japan, where he was treated for heart problems.

Japan's oldest man is now Masamitsu Yoshida, a 111-year-old Tokyo native who was born on May 30, 1904. It was not immediately known whether Yoshida is also the world's oldest male.

Japan, a rapidly aging country, has more than 61,000 centenarians, according to family registration records. Nearly 90 % are women.

The world's oldest person is an American woman, 116-year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn, New York.​​​


Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley presents honorary awards to centenarians. Elsie Johnson seated from left, who will be 103 years old on February 29, Milcinette Bartholomew who was 105 years old on January 9, and Vernon Nurse who turned  100 years on May 26, with awards of honour yesterday at the Point Cumana Regional Complex, Diego Martin.


The new schedule of payments for the Senior Citizens' Pension, was announced in the 2016 Budget Statement will take effect December 1. For first time Senior Citizens who have a monthly income of more than $3,500, and up to $4,500 will be able to receive pension.

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services today advised senior citizens who earn or receive between $3,500.01 and $4,000 a month for example receive $1,000. Those who earn or receive between $4,000.01 and $4,500 a month, will receive $500.00.


Pope Francis made an unannounced, private visit to a retirement home and to a group home for people in a persistent vegetative state.

In choosing the two homes, the Vatican statement said, "Pope Francis wanted to highlight -- in opposition to the 'throwaway culture' -- the great importance and preciousness of the elderly and grandparents as well as the value and dignity of life in every situation."

Police: Elderly people need help in reporting abuse

By Rachael Espinet


Elderly persons who experience abuse often have difficulty reporting their abuse. This was the view of Margaret Sampson-Browne, head of the Victim and Witness Support Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service in an interview yesterday.

Sampson-Browne was responding to the abuse of 66-year-old pensioner Tara Ramnath of Clarke Road, Penal, who said she was being abused by a relative. Last Friday, Newsday highlighted Ramnath’s plight. A mother of two, a diabetic, and been in a wheelchair for two years after losing toes, and dislocating ankle.

The disabled woman said she had made numerous reports to the Penal Police Station for the year, but the relative continued to abuse her. Ramnath said she would get “licks and cuss” from her abuser. She said the relative flies into a rage whenever she refuses to give him her pension money to buy rum.

Sampson-Browne declined to comment on Ramnath’s case directly because she did not have the details of the specific case, but she said many times the elderly cannot report their abuse to the police, because they are homebound, or do not have access to a telephone.

“Like a child, sometimes the elderly cannot make a report. They fear the abuser, and for their life. Some of them do not know how to use a cellphone, and some are not able to go to the police station to make a report,” Sampson-Browne said. Sampson-Browne calls on neighbours, relatives, and anyone who knows about the abuse to not remain silent. She said these people must advocate for the elderly who cannot make the report themselves.

Elder abuse can be considered domestic violence if the perpetrator is a part of the victim’s family, or is the victim’s care-taker.
There are many elderly people like Ramnath who experience this form of domestic violence. Speaking on domestic violence cases on the whole, Sampson-Browne said the system for dealing with domestic violence cases must change.

When a person is abused, they can make a report to the police or go for a protection order from the magistrate. A protection order is issued after the magistrate listens to both sides and determines that the victim has been abused. The protection order is a civil matter.

Sampson-Browne said a person must send a copy of the protection order to the police. If the protection order is violated then the
police must respond. “Once the person contravenes the order they can be arrested. If the person commits acts of violence against the victim, then the officers can arrest that person according to the Offences Against the Person,” Sampson Browne said.

Sampson-Brown said if the offence was not committed in the view of the police, then the police are duty bound to investigate. However, this requires a corroborating victim. She said even if the police observe that the victim has visible signs of abuse, they cannot make an arrest unless the victim agrees to testify.

Sampson-Browne said in other countries a person can be arrested without a complaining witness if the police see signs of abuse on the victim. However, with the current system the victim must testify to their abuse before an investigation can begin.

“In Canada if the police respond to a domestic matter he could charge the perpetrator if he witnesses abuse on the victim. We have to have the corroboration of the victim,” Sampson-Browne said.

Sampson-Browne said victims should not have to face their abuser while seeking protection. Many times victims in domestic violence cases are psychologically traumatised and either do not want to make a report for do not want to face their abuser.

Sampson-Browne said she has been pleading for the laws to change so that victims can be safe and protected without having to go through more psychological trauma.,200767.html 

Caring for Elderly Parents

The ideal situation is when the parents take control of their own situations and make decisions in advance of an emergency. They should investigate the types of retirement options and decide which is most appropriate, make informed decisions about life-sustaining medical care, and make sure that documents, instructions, and powers of attorney are available to those who must take responsibility in an emergency.

Communicating with Elderly Parents

Talking with our elderly parents about their living situations and the possible need for change is not always easy.

A successful conversation depends to an extent upon the relationship we have with the parent, as well, of course,  as on the parent's mental, emotional and physical condition. While many people put off serious conversations to avoid conflict or awkwardness, both parent and adult child may lose an opportunity for closeness, understanding, access to information that may affect the decision, and optimum peace of mind.


To the extent possible, talk with your elderly parents gently and honestly about their wishes, their abilities and their options. Far more often than not, these conversations are helpful and put the adult child in a better position to make decisions later when the parent may not be able to do so.

Ageing Working Group

The elderly are seen as vulnerable because biological, psychological and social ageing predispose the ageing person to frailty, infirmity and in many cases dependency, setting the older person apart from the rest of the population in need of special protection and rights.

They are the prime target to be victims of poverty, exclusion and marginalization, and may suffer from the effects of negative stereotyping. An examination of demographic trends (over 13% or 177,000 persons of the total population is aged 60 years and over) and changes in the population structure suggest that there is need for a more focused and integrated approach to manage issues relating to population ageing and ageing itself, especially since older persons comprise the fastest growing segment of the population.


Furthermore, the  demographic transition is occurring at such an unprecedented rate that it is critical that the government of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of the People and Social Development, take a proactive stance to  address the challenges of an ageing population in order to mitigate some of its negative effects, namely social, political and economic destabilization.


In India, elders are head of the family. Many Indians live in joint family units, with elders acting as the head of the household. The elders are supported by younger members of the family and they in turn play a key role in raising grandchildren.

Advice is sought from them on a range of issues, from investment of family money to details of traditional wedding rituals and intra-family conflicts.

This is not passive advice; their word is final in settling disputes. The elderly are the most religious and charitable members of the family.


Adult Day-Care Centres To Be Opened

The launch of the "Elders in Action" Senior Activity Center marked one of many such centers nationwide. Ramadharsingh said the centers should not be seen as somewhere to “play cards” but were meant to foster and expose the elderly to networking, congregation and fellowship with their peers and the younger generation.

He added the centres would provide the elderly with an avenue to be physically and mentally active, rather than be at home depressed or disconnected from the rest of society.


It's easy to miss subtle signs, especially if your elderly loved one is a fiercely independent person who does not like to ask for help.

Weight loss
They have trouble shopping or preparing food. Or it could be a medical problem..e.g. has Alzheimer's, and forgets to eat.

Change in physical appearance
Signs of poor grooming or personal hygiene. 

Change in personality
Is your outgoing parent now quiet and withdrawn or vice versa? No longer interested in what's going on?

Medication issues
Review prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. There can be troublesome side effects, including dizziness and memory loss.

The house looks different
Look for changes in the way the house is kept. Is it dirty? Laundry or dishes piled up? Is outside in bad repair, or yard not maintained? Look for things that are not the norm for your parent.

It's important to be aware. Our parents tried to keep us healthy and safe and now it's our turn. It's possible that if something is wrong it can be easily treated. It could mean your loved one needs assistance. They may need to see a doctor, or have a geriatric assessment.


A touching photo of an elderly Georgia man showing a much younger man how to tie his tie. The young man, was sitting in the Atlanta train station struggling with his tie, he got a step-by-step, hands-on tutorial from the much older gentleman.

In the photo, the older man can be seen giving hands-on instruction to the younger man, who was dressed to the nines in business clothes but was struggling with his tie while sitting in an Atlanta train station.

"The young guy sitting down was struggling with his tie. The woman in the red coat noticed, and asked 'Do you know how to tie it properly?' The young guy said 'No ma'am,' " Facebook user Redd Desmond Thomas, who snapped the photo, recounted on his wall.

"She taps her husband and says 'Come to this side [her right side; he was standing on her left side] and teach this young man how to tie his tie.' The older gentleman moved without hesitation and gave him a step-by-step tutorial; then - afterward - the elder gentleman watched the young gentleman repeat the steps and show him that he had it," Thomas continued. "I was some distance away (but close enough to hear the exchange), and got closer to snap this candid photo of the tutorial in progress before hopping on the train." 

The Division of Ageing, which was established in 2003, in the Ministry of Social Development as an umbrella agency, to coordinate ageing initiatives and focus ageing issues in Trinidad and Tobago, is responsible, inter alia, for the coordination of the implementation of the National Ageing Policy, which was launched in July 2007 for public distribution. The objectives of the policy are:

• To create an enabling environment for meaningful participation of the elderly

• To ensure the provision of adequate community-based services for seniors

• To promote and preserve the dignity and independence of the elderly

• To encourage and promote education and public awareness on ageing issues

• To encourage and promote greater collaboration among stakeholders for ageing

• To facilitate, encourage and support research on ageing issues

• To promote greater access to more affordable healthcare for older persons

• To facilitate greater access to recreational facilities by older persons

• To improve the availability to housing that is affordable, safe and accessible to seniors

• To improve the availability of reliable, safe and accessible scheduled transportation to seniors

• To create disaster and emergency plans to treat older persons with equal importance during evacuation and recovery operations


• A Joint Working Group, comprised of representatives from the Ministries of Social Development and Health, was established in June 2007 to coordinate the establishment of a National Community Health Care Unit. The Unit is geared to develop models of care facilities in the community for older persons, adults and children, thus fostering a “society for all ages.”

• The Ministry of Health has embarked on an extensive Health Sector Reform programme to upgrade the quality of healthcare delivery systems in Trinidad and Tobago, which address, inter alia, the promotion of universal coverage for older persons to healthcare services, and the improvement of the functions of the decentralized Regional Health Authorities.

• In addition to the development of standards of care for older persons, the Ministries of Health and Social Development, through the Division of Ageing, propose to coordinate training and sensitization workshops in geriatric care in 2009, for care providers and healthcare workers.

• The Ministry of Social Development is about to roll out the strategic plan of the Decentralized Integrated Social Services Delivery Model (adopted from the Chilean model due to its cultural compatibility), which addresses the health and 9 psycho-social needs of poor families in the community, and thus responds to the care needs of those affected older persons within the context of the family situation.

• The Government hosted a conference in Trinidad with regional Heads of Government, in September 2007, to highlight the proliferation of chronic noncommunicable diseases, particularly among the older persons. Taxes on tobacco and alcohol were subsequently increased in Trinidad and Tobago, to encourage persons to adopt healthy lifestyle practices. A second regional conference on managing chronic non-communicable diseases in the elderly, which was cohosted by PAHO/WHO and Duke University, was held in Barbados in October 2007, to develop a strategic plan to prevent/combat the high incidence of the diseases in the region.

• The Ministry of Health provides a Chronic Disease Assistance Plan, which provides free prescription drugs, via participating pharmacies, to patients with specific chronic diseases such as: Diabetes; Asthma; Hypertension; Arthritis; Glaucoma; Cancer of the Prostate; Mental Depression; Cardiac-related diseases; and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, once they are diagnosed at any public or private health care institution with any of the diseases stated above.

Elderly men with high blood pressure reduce risk of death by taking a stroll.

​A walk a day keeps the doctor away: A moderate level of fitness can reduce an elderly man's risk of death.

This level of fitness can be achieved by taking a brisk walk each day.

The death rate each year for the fittest men is half that of the least fit.

Elderly men with high blood pressure can lower their risk of death each year by taking a stroll, new research suggests.Achieving just a moderate level of fitness can reduce an elderly man’s risk of death in a year.

This level of fitness is achievable by most elderly individuals engaging in a brisk walk of 20 to 40 minutes, most days of the week.

For every 100 people who died in the least-fit category, 82 died in the low-fit category, 64 died in the moderate-fit category and 52 died in the high-fit category.  The death rate is cut in half for those in the highest fitness category.


Abandoning the Elderly

Dr Fuad Khan, Minister of Health, has acknowledged that the care of elderly people forsaken in the healthcare system was costing the Government $15,000 per month per patient. Many of these geriatric cases are not, in the truest sense of the term, patients. They have been wilfully abandoned by their families and left in the care of the state. Dr Khan did not share specific numbers, but noted that out of 800 elderly patients admitted to St Ann’s Hospital, 600 were what he described as “social cases” — people left to fend for themselves.

Dr Rouse anticipates a need for greater capacity in residential care. Of the 131 homes for the elderly in Trinidad and Tobago, 85 are functioning and there is a need for greater capacity to manage the needs of the growing elder population. Dr Rouse envisions government and private-sector collaboration on residence-care model homes and more growth in the elder-care sector over the next few years. These new facilities might be purpose-built or adapted from existing structures and offer a real home for older, infirm citizens who find themselves without the support systems necessary to continue a dignified life. The window for creating these improved facilities and for establishing a viable, well-monitored geriatric-care sector in both the public and private sectors is rapidly closing as the numbers of elderly people who will need care steadily increase beyond existing capacity.

200 persons graduate from Geriatric Training Programme

The event was hosted at the Banquet Hall, Chamber of Commerce Building, Camden  Street, Couva, for a total of 196 graduates, following 14 weeks of training in care for the elderly at eight GAPP centers across the country. The training programme had run from March 18 to July 5,  2013.   


Acting Permanent Secretary, Ms Natasha Barrow reminded graduates that as professional caregivers their work would help Trinidad and Tobago as the skills meet the needs of the country's aging population.