Haiti 2010 Earthquake Response

Vulnerable nursing home residents to get long-term relief

The early stories out of Port-au-Prince reported elderly nursing home patients lying on the ground, bereft of medical care, food, water and sanitation.  Heart-breaking videos revealed appalling conditions.  In one, an elderly women wept.  

In those terrible first days, two elderly residents of the Municipal Nursing Home died of hunger or exhaustionless than a mile from the airport where supplies were pouring in.  After news media reported on the conditions, relief organizations like HelpAge International began arriving with help and supplies.

Now, HelpAge has agreed to take over daily management of the nursing home from the Haitian government for the next six months.  The group’s website states, “We will manage all aspects of caregiving, including food, security, sanitation, medical and emotional care.”  It includes a commitment to work with its partners “to protect the privacy and dignity of the home’s 75 surviving older people.”

HelpAge International, a nonprofit, is based in the U.K., and describes itself as “the only global network of not-for-profit national affliates working to find solutions for the problems of older people throughout the world.”  HelpAge partners with other organizations, including the AARP, which has been soliciting donations and has committed to directing 100% of the donations to on-the-ground services.

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