Yvonne Jackson is a Australian aged care nurse living in Fiji where her husband is working for two years. She writes of aged care in Fiji:
Last week I was one of four women from the Corona Women’s Charity who visited the Father Law Home situated just outside Suva. We provided morning tea and $300 of groceries and donations from local companies which included adult diapers and frozen chickens. The Corona ladies try and visit every 3mths.
The reception was very welcoming with the residents and staff coming to say hello with their lovely big smiles. The morning tea was followed by Bob and other residents entertaining us with a few songs.
The elderly in Fiji are traditionally cared for by their families and the community, but like the Western world, people move leaving the elderly behind so care is needed. Suva has three age care facilities; the other two are ‘pay as you stay’. Father Law Home is free to residents therefore totally dependent on charities. This is typical of most health care facilities in Fiji, they are all trying to providing the best care they can with few resources they have.
We must accept that Fiji is a third world country, the elderly are not neglected but the money is just not there. Father Law Home was built in 1955. It is home for 25 men and women of mixed cultures who are cared for by 3 nuns and 8 paid staff, which include 2 cleaners and a cook.
We walked into an open covered area between the kitchen and the lounge/dinning, room where we were to have morning tea. Further along are the toilets, bathrooms and laundry. The bedrooms are 2 to 4 bedded and recently several of the small, men’s bedrooms, have been knocked onto one large shared room resulting in a reduction of privacy but let in a lot more light and air. Everyone agreed it is a great improvement.
Sister proudly showed me the lounge/dinning room. Her nephew came to stay with her and paid for the floor to be tiled (the torn lino and carpets removed), he painted the walls and replaced the 3 broken fans. A little goes a long way in Fiji.
The government provides free medical care, regular dental, eye checks and free burials. Father Law home has to pay their own electric, gas and water rates. They are dependant on grants, donations and charities. Residents do not pay but 3 families do donate approx. $200 a month. When I asked about their income I was given a long list of donations all small and all different but which together pay for the residents care. For example recently 2 local companies donated fish and chicken otherwise their diet is vegetarian (Father Law Home has a large chest freezer). Rotary are in the process of fitting water tanks (mains water supply is not dependable) and Corona want to replace the old broken toilets and showers but was told they work and we were asked if we could start with the fly screens which don’t work.
This is normal for most caring facilities in Fiji with little money available the needs are great. The list of organisations asking for help are endless, what we do is a drop in the ocean but we hope all those drops together make a difference.
Yvonne Jackson Fiji
If you can help with towels, sheets, pillow cases and light blankets etc., (even second hand) these items can be sent to Father Law Hom in Fiji. Contact the manager Veronica Mulu <firstname.lastname@example.org> to arrange it.