ST. JOHNS–The White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) marked another milestone on Thursday, March 8, when it opened three of its new elderly care homes in St. John’s Estate.
As elderly care is a service designed for seniors who can no longer sustain a fully independent life at home, the homes’ design was completed with the specific needs of seniors in mind, WYCCF said on Friday. The homes are fully wheelchair-accessible, equipped with special bathroom adaptations and have a lot of privacy, while at the same time facilitating shared spaces for social contact and activities.
Ground for the project was broken in September 2016 and the construction was finished on schedule a year later in December. “Even the passing of Hurricane Irma did not delay the completion and in January of this year,” WYCCF said, 15 clients have since moved from St. Martin’s Home to the new elderly care homes. With the opening of the homes, elderly care can now offer “high quality care” to 36 seniors, an increase of 15 compared to the former location.
During the official opening, Health Minister Emil Lee spoke about how impressed he was with the buildings and their furnishings. He encouraged the WYCCF board members to continue on their path of excellence and thanked them for taking care of St. Maarten’s seniors, who have contributed so much to the island.
With elderly care now added to the coverage package of the AVBZ insurance, the financial sustainability of this care is secured, and Lee thanked his cabinet, the teams of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs VSA and Social and Health Insurances SZV for their hard work and commitment in securing the legal basis for this.
WYCCF board Chairman Michel Soons said the care teams in the new elderly homes are offering personalised care with an emphasis on stimulating clients to do as much as possible themselves. Following the motto “What you don’t use, you lose,” clients are encouraged to make their own beds, set and clear the dining room table and participate in cooking the meals.
The creation of a community garden and small petting zoo is planned and will further encourage the clients to have active lives.
Following the speeches, Father Adams blessed the new buildings and elderly care home client Mary Carty cut the ribbon together with WYCCF Manager Macfolda Gumbs.
The WYCCF board and management travelled to Curaçao and Aruba several years ago to view elderly care facilities and were inspired on how best to expand their elderly care services. The board and management had as one of their goals continuously addressing the care needs in the country.
While in Aruba, the group visited Foundation SABA and specifically its homes for seniors with dementia. The smaller homes catering to the care needs of six residents per home appealed to WYCCF teams and, once returned, their architect Jon Hart began the drawings.
Instead of designing one large facility, a design of three homes was made and, in every home, there are 10 studios for prospective clients and this led to the construction and finalisation of the homes.
Guests and well-wishers at the official opening were treated to guided tours of the homes and expressed how beautiful the interiors were and noted that attention was paid to delivering personalised care in a home-like environment.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/74500-wyccf-opens-new-elderly-care-homes