Lefroy House aims to get its message across
More than 100 residents attended an open house hosted by one of the oldest Government-run residential care facilities for Bermuda’s elderly.
Lefroy House Administrator Rosheena Masters said the main objective was to heighten public awareness through informational sessions on long-term care, how essential it is to Bermuda, and what the facility has to offer.
The West End facility is the oldest of two Government-run facilities, the Sylvia Richardson Care Facility is located at the East End in St George’s.
The original Lefroy House building is more than 100 years old and is designed to hold a capacity of 40 residents. There are currently 36 seniors who reside there.
In an ageing community like Bermuda, Ms Masters said: “We are all temporarily able. Someday we’re all going to require this care, right now have the opportunity to shape what the care looks like.”
While there is “a lot of facility-based care” in Bermuda, she holds the view that “there’s very little community-based care”.
“There’s a general lack of formal care givers available in the community, after 5pm there is very little service available. So we really would like to start an outreach into the community; that’s what we want people to know. You can keep your loved ones at home and be provided with support there,” she said.
“We recognised in September 2012 that people didn’t know anything about us. They didn’t know where we were, they didn’t know how important we are, they didn’t even know we were a Government care facility.
“We decided to make this a project, one was to post a sign which we now have at the front. The other was to hold information sessions and we would also hold an open house.
“We started the day with an informational talk about long-term care, what Lefroy House contributes to that, and how essential long-term care is to Bermuda.
“We then had facility tours or care home tours, virtual dementia tours so that people can glimpse of the world through the eyes of the people who have dementia.
“We had information booths with information on caring for your older loved ones at home. Our take home message was that nursing care is not synonymous with long-term care. Long-term care can be provided anywhere, it doesn’t have to be in a nursing home,” she added.
More in-home services for seniors would also lessen the financial burden on Bermuda’s healthcare system and taxpayers in her view.
“The cost for in-house care for the elderly runs from $30,000 per patient, per month. And it ranges from skilled nursing care with some medical care right down to intermittent care.
“Every single rest home in Bermuda is subsidised by Government. An anecdotal study that was done on the care homes in Bermuda showed that the taxpayers actually pay, and I think this is probably a very modest, or conservative figure, but taxpayers pay about $60 million a year. Of that Government pays about 85 percent.
“If we could just change that paradym that as soon as people are old and they require some care they need to go in a nursing home. If we could change the paradigm that what people really need is homes and care can be provided in the home; and it’s far cheaper.
“Our main goal was to spread the word on the services available at Lefroy House for seniors in their golden years,” said Ms Masters.
“We’re a residential care facility that provides supportive care, assisted living, day care and recreational services. But we also provide anticipatory guidance about what you might require in the future and how you could care for your loved one to make sure that they have a quality of life.
“What types of things would engage them so they’re not just sitting at home. The one thing we want to avoid is loneliness, helplessness and boredom, those are three plagues of the human spirit that actually erode the human spirit.”
She commended staff at the close of the event for all their “hard work and support to make it a successful day”.
““These people have come out on their days off, some of them have worked night shifts, some of them are working and helping with the hospitality part of our programme and some of them are just volunteers.
“It’s the first one that we’ve ever had and I can see that it’s not going to be the last one or at least not for gatherings like this and we are very appreciative of your support.”