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Archbishop Finbar Ryan Geriatric Home

Bernadette Sobhion is a supervisor at the Finbar Ryan home and has been on the staff since its inception in 1987. Sobhion says that in those days, the matron lived at the home and single-handedly took care of the 14 residents.

Apart from the matron, she says that she herself was employed as a cook and another person served as a janitor. Within the first month or so, she added, there was someone employed as a washer.

Of the first residents Sobhion says they ranged from 75 to 97 years of age. Most of these came from Nazareth House on Duncan Street, Port of Spain and at first reacted negatively to their new surroundings: "'They bring us here to kill us!' some of them were saying. Then we also had to resolve small conflicts that flared up among the residents from time to time. All of that was part of the process."she says.

"It was tough but patience won the day." Of course, as with any new institution with a small staff, hours were long and the work plentiful, but all this changed with time. After the second wing was opened in 1989, more staff were added. Around this period too, Sobhion was taking courses in Geriatric care and she was promoted from cook to care-giver.

Sobhion explains that there are specific problems associated with the aging process. The first is the obvious physical decline that comes with the passage of time. Care of the elderly could involve persons who are either totally incapacitated or who enjoy good health and are able to help themselves.

In either case the loss of independence which often accompanies old age, is a burden that many find hard to bear. Some may find it difficult to adjust to institutional living and may rebel. The elderly, may also suffer acute feelings of abandonment.

Norma Daniel, a supervisor who joined the staff in 1990 as a washer says: "Sometimes you hear people say things like: 'When I was young, I had so-and-so, now that I'm old, I have nothing.'" Sobhion agrees: "We have residents who have never had a visitor."

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Cyril Ross Nursery
Nazareth House
Nazareth Halfway Facility
Archbishop Finbar Ryan Geriatric Home
Audrey Mollineau House
Home for the Aged
San Fernando
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