Best News & Current Affairs Blog (2011 & 2012) and Jamaican Blogger of the Year (2011) at The Jamaica Blog Awards.

The Golden Age Home : An Insult To Human Dignity‏!

There has long been a culture in Jamaica that lacks accountability. Our leaders know our people lack the will to hold out long enough, we lack the will to band together and demand that justice be done when atrocities are committed against our people. From the extradition saga to the incursion into West Kingston that killed some 70+ people, we allow our public officials to get away with far too much.

On April 3rd, The Sunday Gleaner published an expose which painted such a terrible picture of the state of affairs at The Golden Age Home in Kingston; that any reasonable understanding of decency and respect for the elderly and disabled among us, must demand that justice be done. There must come a collective and sustained call for the resignations of every single individual who had an obligation to protect and care for those being housed at the facility.

My heart ached as I read the accounts of undercover reporters who allegedly saw patients subjected to mass bathing rituals before 6AM. Bathing rituals which saw men and women being hosed down together and forced to walk along corridors nude. The reports further claimed patients, disabled patients, were tied to their beds on the floor and left to wallow in dirt. One cannot help but wonder what would happen if, God forbid, there is a fire at the institution. Oh my God!

Doing some research, I came across information which stated that in May 1980, there was a massive fire at The Eventide Home (the Golden Age Home was built to replace this one). Some 144 women died in that fire. How then can these workers at the Golden Age Home be bounding patients, disabled patients, to their beds? What kind of society is this? What kind of people have we employed to care for the elderly and less fortunate? It is disgraceful and a display of extreme cruelty.

The most painful part of the story for me was the allegations of verbal abuse being meted out to the elderly patients. It was reported that one worker said to a patient “Gyal, gwaan guh bade!” Seriously?! Gyal? How can you speak to a disabled senior citizen that way?! Don’t these people who work there have parents? Grandparents?? What the hell man!? What kinda of monsters are these? Crippled patients being forced to crawl on the floors to bathe themselves? What is this? It hurts me even more to know that any one of those patients could be related to me. Why do we just cast aside our elderly? Why do we treat them as inconveniences? Some of these people worked tirelessly to build the society we now enjoy and may have simply fallen on hard times. We cannot treat people this way! We have to respect people’s human dignity! It hurts man!

Finally, I hope that all human rights and civic organisations in Jamaica will not let this story die. Jamaicans for Justice in particular must condemn this hell house the Government calls a place of care and comfort. The issue must be thoroughly debated by the parliament and the Administrator of the facility must be made to resign immediately! It is a crying shame! It makes no sense having manicured lawns and peaceful serene grounds, if they are only there to hide a home that is nothing more than an insult to human dignity.


15 responses

  1. WH

    I can’t even comment much, because i saw the video from last night….and you know my views on it already….as i watched the video tears came to my eyes….i am sad, angry, and i swear if i could do it i fire each and evry person responsible for this cruelty!! My mom, grandmother, relative or one of my elder friends could’ve been in that home!!!!! i don’t care for the current soap opera on tv, how can they argue and spend millions and not help these people?? I swear the people should form a mob and run put the government…..I AM SO APPALLED!!!

    April 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm

  2. Karim

    Gyal? Have these ppl no mercy. They are sub human. To treat a vulnerable member of society like an animal? I am utterly disgusted!

    April 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm

  3. MDk

    Been to that place before. In last October / November can’t really remember exactly when. It was a Sunday afternoon, I went with my dad and some cousins. Getting there, I remember remarking at what a nice-looking place it was that they had. I even remember seeing some corporate logos around the place. I think they named the blocks after the donors.

    When I went inside tho, it was completely filthy. I remember I had to wash my hands, and I had to use the “nurses’ quarters” to do that. Everywhere else looked disease riddled.

    The nurses I met were all nice though, and seemed to get along well with the people in the home. But having volunteered before, I kinda knew that they tend to act differently when there are visitors, especially from other countries ( as were my dad’s cousins ).

    The “undercover” reporter undertook a task to record all of this, and expose it in a newspaper instead of reporting it to the authorities? How long were these reporters there? Certainly had I seen this happening when I was there i would have informed someone, even if it had only been the police.

    There’s going to be a long inquiry into all of this, then a long period before anything is actually done. They should review all government homes while there at it too. Something tells me The Golden Age Home is not alone.

    April 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    • I’m surprised you read & commented on my blog Matthew, considering you unfollowed and blocked me on Twitter. Hahaha. Thanks for your thoughts though.

      April 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

      • MDk

        I tried following you back like a week after I did… Just saying. Lol

        April 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      • Oh? Is that so? I see. Lol!

        April 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      • MDk

        Yeah. You ought to unblock me. #Justsaying. Lol.

        April 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm

  4. Christina

    This is very sad… Reminds me of the nursing home up here in America and how dem treat d elderly. I’m actually doing a research paper on that… Anyways mi a wonda if dem nurse here naah get pay fi do dem job? Dem a gwaan like seh dem a work fi free. It’s a disgrace fi see how dem a treat these people… Idk what to say. God will pay dem back in due time. Dem seem like a bunch a dunce cuz nuh brilliant and intelligent individual would neva behave like dat, dem figet seh a disabled and elderly dem a care fah weh caah really assist demself? It kinda soun like a dem pickney dem a talk to. This is abuse and dem nave any respect. These people need to be fired and dem license revoke. It’s quite ironic too how Jamaicans luv jump and rail fi foolishness but when it comes to real issues and matters everyone silent.

    April 5, 2011 at 12:19 am

    • MDk

      Apparently the nurses get what I call minimum wage, possibly is, and aren’t trained in any way to deal with the elder and stuff. So idk. The problems seem deeper than just abuse.

      April 5, 2011 at 12:26 am

    • My position is people should not enter jobs that require giving care and all they want is the money.

      April 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

      • Christina

        So y are they on the job if dem nuh trained? Idk… I agree with you constructedthoughts. Some higher authority need fi intervene and all who involved need fi be punished. Such a tragedy!

        April 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      • True.

        June 3, 2011 at 1:24 am

    • Wow. And no one person has come forth to assist even me. Even if everyone donate $1.00, that is a start. Remember how Jesus fed 5000 with 2 loaves of bread. Thats the same way how he mutiplies the $1.00. Yes, me know, it’s the coruption that has taken form. But God has entrusted me as part of his staff to do anything I can to make a difference at Golden Age Home, that what ever I receive will be to benifit the people. I have recieved some medical supplies/food from people and family that knows I’m coming up. So I just look to God for what he have in his over flow. As for me, I can’t sit back and know this. I can’t go to to the promised land with my hands so dirty as dirty as they are, and not go and give some assistant to the people. My husband is going with me in July 2011, he’s Jamaican. God bless your comment. We need to hear more comments like these. Maybe one day Jamaican’s will step up. Thank you Mz. Jamaica. You are welcome to read my blog. It’s people like you that can help make a change. Even with words. Pray for my coming, services, and going. Some help is on the way. Bless you lady.

      June 3, 2011 at 1:20 am

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  6. @BallaBbz

    This hurt ma heart n to even imagine that my grandma was on the brink of living in one of these havens for care n comfort for the elders.
    We can all agree that it doesn’t pay well but this a job where ur need to provide care for the elder ought to come first…. So wat if u r not getting a good pay that doesn’t mean that u shud treat them like sub-human!!!! I think these ‘nurses’ need to go into another field.

    November 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

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