MOTHER’S DAY: MIN­IS­TER AKBAR

ON WHIRLWIND TOUR OF AGE CARE HOMES

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - SHRATIKA NAIDU and SHAHANI MALA Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika Feed­back: shratikan@fi­jisun.com.fj

Fam­i­lies plan­ning to dump their par­ents at the three age care homes will have to think twice now. The Min­is­ter for Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion Rosy Akbar made this state­ment when she cel­e­brated Moth­ers’ Day with 14 women of Babasiga Ashram at the Grand Eastern Ho­tel in Labasa yes­ter­day.

It was the first of three vis­its of age care homes yes­ter­day. The whirlwind tour took in the Old Peo­ple’s Home in Suva and the Golden Age Home in Lautoka last night. She said en­try into three age care homes in Fiji would not be easy. She said in the past some fam­i­lies dropped their fa­ther or mother at the doorstep of age care homes while some left them at the hos­pi­tals. “We don’t want our young gen­er­a­tion to con­tinue with this cul­ture,” Ms Akbar said. “We are go­ing to tighten up man­ual pro­ce­dures and have stan­dard op­er­a­tions be­cause from this year my min­istry is go­ing to work on this. “I am very se­ri­ous about this as I have been vig­or­ously cam­paign­ing on the im­por­tance of look­ing af­ter our par­ents. “Those chil­dren who are think­ing about dump­ing in care homes or push­ing their el­ders on the street have to think twice; be­cause we mean busi­ness. We don’t have the right to dump them.” One of the res­i­dents told Ms Akbar while she was hav­ing her break­fast yes­ter­day that her fam­ily was in Aus­tralia and they told her they could not take her over there be­cause it was costly.

“I was re­ally sad to hear this,” Ms Akbar said. In Fiji we have three age care homes; Babasiga Ashram, Sam­ab­ula Old Peo­ple’s Home and Golden Age. Ms Akbar said there were more than 169 res­i­dents in th­ese homes and out of this 72 were women. “Some have been liv­ing in this home for more than 10 years,” she said. “The rea­son as to why we are vig­or­ously cam­paign­ing be­cause 72 is a small num­ber. “If we all work to­gether we will be able to con­trol and de­crease the num­ber of en­try.” Ms Akbar said an early break­fast treat was or­gan­ised by the min­istry in part­ner­ship with the owner of Grand Eastern Ho­tel, Cha­ran Jeath Singh. She gifted blan­kets to moth­ers and spent few min­utes with every­one to hear their sto­ries. Ms Akbar burst into tears urg­ing peo­ple to re­mem­ber those peo­ple who had lost their moth­ers. “As a min­istry we are sad to see some fam­i­lies re­ject and ne­glect their moth­ers. To those peo­ple out there I would like to say that there is still time,” she pleaded. “Mother’s Day cel­e­bra­tion should not be only for a par­tic­u­lar day but an ev­ery­day cel­e­bra­tion. “Let’s bring back the love and trust that our moth­ers de­serve. This is some­thing that we go­ing to em­bark on. “I would like to urge the mem­bers of the pub­lic, if you know of any case where par­ents are ne­glected please bring this is­sue to us.”

Names change for care homes

Ms Akbar has con­firmed that the names of three ex­ist­ing age care homes will be changed this year.

She said all homes, fa­cil­i­ties and meal menu would be stan­dard­ised. “Name like Ashram is not suitable to be used,” Ms Akbar said. “Ev­ery­thing will be stan­dard­ised be­cause we want to give jus­tice to all se­nior cit­i­zens. “We don’t want any home to feel ig­nored.

“Be­cause of the re­cent two trop­i­cal cy­clones we couldn’t get trans­fer of homes in process. “How­ever, we have re­sumed with the nec­es­sary pro­ce­dures.”

Re­u­nite with elderly

Ms Akbar is also urg­ing fam­i­lies to re­u­nite with their loved ones liv­ing at the three se­nior cit­i­zens homes in Fiji. She made the com­ment while host­ing res­i­dents of the Sam­ab­ula Old Peo­ple’s Home to lunch for Mother’s Day cel­e­bra­tion at the New Pek­ing Restau­rant in Suva yes­ter­day. “Sad to say very few fam­i­lies have come up with the in­ten­tion to re­u­nite with their moth­ers,” Ms Akbar said. “We have seen some fam­i­lies, come cry­ing for their loved ones have passed away. Why cry later when you can share their joy­ous and smiles now.”

She said there was still time to do the right thing for our elderly. “Our doors are open and we will as­sist fam­i­lies take their moth­ers and fa­thers back to their homes,” she said. Ms Akbar also vis­ited the Golden Age Home in Lautoka last night.

It’s painful to see chil­dren leav­ing their par­ents at the old peo­ples’ home, says 77-year-old se­nior cit­i­zen Shanti Devi. Ms Devi has been re­sid­ing at the Sam­ab­ula Old Peo­ple’s Home for the last seven years and she has no fam­ily. She is not mar­ried but sad­dened by the fact in see­ing some chil­dren leav­ing their par­ents at the home. “I al­ways see my friends at the old age home cry­ing,” she said. “Moth­ers give birth to chil­dren and fa­thers pro­vide them with their ba­sic need and its chil­dren’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to take care of their par­ents. There place is at their chil­dren’s home not at the old age homes,” she said. Ms Devi is call­ing on every­one to take good care of their par­ents and re­spect them.

Photo: Shahani Mala

Min­is­ter for Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion with some res­i­dents of the Sam­ab­ula Old Peo­ple’s Home at the New Pek­ing Res­tu­ar­ant in Suva yes­ter­day.

Photo: Shratika Naidu

Min­is­ter Rosy Akbar at the Grand Eastern Ho­tel in Labasa yes­ter­day cel­e­brat­ing Mother’s Day with res­i­dents of the Babasiga Ashram.

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