Minister Cox greets Mr Wajid Ali-Dookie, during her visit to the Seniors Home in Diego Martin, on Sunday 25 October 2020. (Image courtesy Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Senator Donna Cox, today embarked on a fact finding mission to see for herself, how serious are the allegations of neglect at a home for senior citizens in Diego Martin.

The Minister, along with a team of officials from the Ministry of Health and the Division of Ageing, paid a visit to a Home for the Aged located at School Street, St Lucien Drive, Diego Martin.

A release from the Social Development Ministry states that complaints concerning conditions at the home recently went viral in social media, and were investigated by the police and the Ministry.

“Following reports made by the West End Police Station on October 23, 2020, the Ministry was informed that a call was made by a concerned neighbour who expressed that she had not seen a worker for the past few days and that a male resident was asking for help,” the Ministry reports in its release.  

“The resident, who identified himself as Mr. Wajid Ali-Dookie, indicated that he had not eaten and was left alone most of the time. Wajid-Ali further shared that there were two other persons at the Home—a bedridden female and a female in a wheelchair,” the release said.

Minister Cox, accompanied by staff of the Division of Ageing Health, pays a visit to the Seniors Home in Diego Martin today. (Image courtesy Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

Minister Cox notes that when the Ministry became aware of the situation, it asked the Police Service to verify the claims.

“Based on the reports provided by the TTPS, the Ministry realised that there was need for a response by the Division of Ageing, which has the mandate of investigating complaints of neglect or abuse to older persons,” the minister confirmed. 

She added: “I am here today on a fact finding mission and to follow up on the report which was provided by the Division of Ageing and the TTPS; particularly as the Ministry has a mandate to craft legislation and policy on how we meet and treat with our Senior Citizens.”

Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Senator Donna Cox, accompanied by staff of the Division of Ageing and a representative from the Ministry of Health pay a visit to the Seniors Home in Diego Martin. (Image courtesy Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

Following today’s visit, Minister Cox confirmed that the Division of Ageing will continue to work with the Home towards regularization, to ensure the elderly residents receive adequate care and the protection they deserve. 

Minister Cox also revealed that at present, the Social Development Ministry is engaged in developing the Home for Older Persons (HOP) legislation, which will help with the monitoring, control and regulation of homes for older persons.

Accompanying the Minister  on the visit  were Chief Technical Officer at the Ministry,  Mr Michael Reid, Director of the Division of Ageing, Dr Hyacinth Blake  and Inspectors attached to her Division as well as Ms Juanice  Awai-Payson of the Ministry of Health.  Officers of the West End Police Division were also present at the visit.

Minister Cox also took the opportunity to chat with Mr Ali-Dookie who was featured in the viral video.

Minister Cox chats with Mr Wajid Ali-Dookie, who cry for help alerted the authorities to what was happening at the Home. (Image courtesy Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)