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Support given to the elderly and disabled freely by persons in the community is commendable.

Support giving is discussed by Rita, Musa and Monica while they wait in a long queue of vehicles at a service station under a heavily over cast sky. They would rather not be in this queue at all but are patient and understand the importance of people getting their hurricane supplies.

A hurricane is expected to reach land within the next two days. The prospect of a hurricane reaching land within such a short period always results in a rush to get extra hurricane supplies, including petrol and diesel for generators.

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“I am concerned for the welfare of the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women, the mentally ill, the incurably ill, those who are confined to bed because of illness, babies and very small children.”, Monica says.

She continues, “These groups are the most vulnerable among us during disasters such as hurricanes so they need our support more so than others during such disasters.””Our support can also be helpful to them when life returns to normal in the community following a natural disaster.”, Rita adds.

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“The kind of help that we can give as individuals in our community especially to the elderly and disabled can be very useful now.”, Rita says. “This is so because some of these people are being neglected or have been abandoned altogether by relatives.”, she continues.

“The healthcare and social services collectively provide modern professional health care and related assistance.”, Monica says.

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“The collective support of these services should be complemented at home by the support of individual family members.”, Rita adds. “Where such individual support is not available in the homes of our elderly and disabled, it can be provided by volunteers within the community.”, she continues.

“Our giving personal support to the elderly and disabled under normal conditions in our community is quite simple.”, Musa says.

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He gives a few simple guidelines to follow,”Care about the people we are supporting; be honest with them at all times; become friendly with them and get to know them well if they are not so well known to us; support the number of persons that we can practicably support; keep a list of the persons we are supporting in our community; and carefully record the necessary information about the persons we support such as the illnesses from which they suffer, the clinics they attend, the foods they must avoid and so on.

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Personal support we can give to the elderly and disabled within our community includes: ensuring their safety and wellness by daily visiting them in their homes; returning their phone calls; talking and listening to them; ensuring that they take meals, take their medication, keep appointments, meet basic commitments like bill payments, and access available and needed services; minimizing their transportation difficulties; and performing chores and errands for them.”

“Other points of assistance can be added to the ones identified here but these few are sufficient for us to start giving personal support to those who need it.”, Musa concludes.

By Edward Fagan

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