The Sounding Board (SB) committee for the Honourable Henry Every Old Age Home, located in the Bottom, recently gave a personal interview to The Daily Herald. The committee, which was introduced in November 2014, consists of three members, the Reverend Vernon Liburd, Franklin Wilson and Shelly Zagers. Zagers was not present for the interview.
The SB’s main goal is to function as a bridge between management and residents of the Home, including family members and basically the entire Saban community. The SB’s task is to help upgrade the quality of life and services rendered to the clients in the Home. The stigma that the Home was in the last phase of going under had to be removed. According to the SB, the clients need to be kept busy and active by doing all kinds of meaningful exercises.
They now recruit volunteers from within the community who are willing to give of their time, talents and money for the improvements of the Home. To facilitate this, the SB has compiled a list of activities which will be implemented throughout the year.
Activities such as tours to various parts of the island, games, birthday parties, performances by the youth of Saba, music and entertainment afternoons and church services are partially made possible by organisations such as the church, government, Lion’s Club and Saba Medical
School and After School Care.
Another interesting feature that will be realised shortly is a photo gallery with photos from days gone by. The SB previously made an official
request to the owners of My Store Supermarket in the Bottom where many photos are displayed from the old days. My Store will donate two compact discs with high definition scans. Wilson: “We plan to show around 10 photos at one time in the gallery and change them periodically. We have more than 200 photos and we plan to let the children of the school come into the home so they can be fascinated by the way Saba has changed over the years.”
Liburd commented on the planned activities saying they recently implemented a new activities room. A new activities officer has been appointed and began working on April 1 to keep the clients as busy as possible together with physiotherapist Tjitske “Jess” Vasilev.
The SB will have a monthly meeting with Quality Care Officer Pieter van Amsterdam and manager Roseta Riley. Wilson: “The discussions are conducted in an open and honest atmosphere.
Critical questions from the SB are taken very seriously.” Many of these critical questions are coming from concerned citizens. The SB installed a “Coin Your Idea” (CYI) box next to the complaint box near the entrance of the Home in January. The SB emphasized that the CYI box is only meant for constructive ideas from the community to improve the lives of the clients of the Home. Liburd: “Through the CYI box, we have already received several ideas which are being examined and discussed.”
Liburd has been visiting the Home three of four times weekly for many years so he knows many of the ideas that people have for quality improvement. One interesting change that has already been implemented is that visiting hours have been abolished and friends and family can visit their loved ones whenever it’s convenient.
One of the suggestions found in the CYI box is to let the clients of the Home decide what time they will go to bed as well. This idea is currently being discussed by the SB and Riley and Van Amsterdam. Another idea which is being realised currently is the instalment of several computers in the Home so that clients have the opportunity to stay in touch with their family members from overseas. The SB is speaking with the local government about acquiring second-hand, refurbished computers.
Around Christmastime, the SB is planning to organise an “Appreciation Day” to say thanks to all the volunteers that helped the Home in that year. An exclusive “Friend of the Home” sticker will be handed out. Wilson explained: “Only a very select group of people will receive such a sticker which means the sticker has to be earned.” The SB is happy to say that the community is already helping on many levels and their hopes are this will continue to grow in the coming years.