KENNETH A. NILES, UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Abstract: The objective of this paper is to assess the extent to which family connectivity and intergenerational links are maintained in social programs designed to address the needs of senior citizens in the Caribbean. This paper also aims to compare the extent to which family connectivity and intergenerational links are included in government and government-assisted social programs for senior citizens. Moreover the paper emphasise the need for a gerontological approach, inclusive of biological, psychological and social elements, to address the needs of older persons in Caribbean society. The study is informed by a qualitative methodology. More specifically, a case study approach was employed to obtain primary data from homes for the aged in Trinidad and Guyana. Purposive sampling was employed to select the institutions reviewed. The cases include a community home for the aged in Trinidad, a government home for the Aged in Trinidad and a government home for the aged in Guyana. These homes were selected to allow for a comparison of the situation in government homes in Trinidad and Guyana, and to facilitate a comparison of a fully-run government home versus a government-assisted home in Trinidad. Participant-observation was the main data-collection approach used. Site visits were made in which residents and staff was interviewed on the activities of the home and observations were made of the surroundings including building infrastructure and resident interaction. The findings show the inadequacies and insensitivities towards the residents by the ineptness of the government policies and the lack of empathy among family members. There is also the historical data that continue to support the evidence of the lost society. There is hope of an intergenerational society which offers meaningful life to the aged who can manage the biological, psychological and social elements within their environment.
Keywords: Older Persons; Gerontological; Intergenerational; Person-fit; Environmental Press; Theories; Polices