The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services and the police are investigating a report of abuse of a well-known drummer and community activist at a senior citizens’ home in South Trinidad.
The 60-year-old man was taken to the home after he suffered two strokes last year, the latter stroke left him bedridden. His relative admitted him to the home last October because she could not provide him with the care he needed.
She claimed that on one occasion she saw bruises on his hand and he had complained that a person at the home was “roughing him up.” She said she spoke to the owner about the matter and he never complained again.
But, in February she became really concerned when she saw a cut over his eye and behind his foot.
“They said he fell in the bathroom. I’m looking at a person who cannot walk falls in a bathroom? Yes, you could understand you hitting your head when you fall in a bathroom but the way that gash was behind his foot. It did not look like if you could get a fall like that and get that.”
The woman said no one informed her that he got injured. She claimed that his condition had deteriorated, he looked dirty and seemed to be hungry whenever she visited him.
The relative said in February when she went to pay the $3,800 monthly fee she was told that a cheque came from the ministry for $3,500. She became suspicious because in September they had submitted an application for his pension and he would have gotten a lumpsum payment. When she went to the social services office, she was told that the cheque was for $21,000. She claimed she went back to the home and was told that they had mixed up the cheques as there was a person with the same first name at the home. She said the ministry instructed the home to return the cheque.
The relative also complained that she tried to take him to see about his identification card but the owner refused to let him leave the home due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, she said in March he had to be hospitalised because he suffered a seizure and she took him out of the home.
She said he is now at another elderly home and is doing well. The relative also claimed she bought new clothes for him in January, but the home kept them.
Despite the situation, she said the ministry is still forwarding his pension cheques to the first home and each time she has to try to track down the money.
The relative wants a proper investigation into the operations of the home and how they treat their residents.
“The last communication with the ministry was in April or May. They were waiting for something from the Ministry of Health. The Division of Ageing and the police went and did their investigations. But, I am not too satisfied because I am not hearing anything.”
However, officials at the home in question denied the allegations and claimed the stroke victim was brought to the home with faeces under his nails. It was further alleged that his bag contained only two pants and he was not eating on his own.
The home claimed he got injured after he slipped off a wheelchair. Officials from the Ageing Division and the police visited the home. Attempts to contact officials at the ministry’s landline were unsuccessful. Minister Donna Cox did not respond to a WhatsApp message.