Lacking a clear commitment of government funds for a modern facility, the elderly residents of the Pines are still facing an uncertain future.
Emphasizing the urgency for a new two storey facility at The Pines in his report from the facility’s annual general meeting on 1 April, Chairman Julian Reddyhough called for the government to give precedence to the home when allocating disbursements.
With final planning permission secured to move ahead with the project, Mr Reddyhough highlighted that funding still remained an issue, even after raising in excess of US$3m through private donations over recent years.
About US$2.5m of this sum remains available after expenditures on new day care facilities, and paying fees and expenses involved in the design and planning process. However, it is estimated that the total costs involved in completing the new facility will be approximately US$5,500,000.
‘The Government has been a strong supporter of The Pines and had hoped to match our private fund raising efforts. However, to date they have been unable to commit funding,’ said Mr Reddyhough.
Expressing the need to bring the facility into the 21st Century he added: ‘Much of our existing facility is dated and unsuitable for staff and residents alike.’
Explaining that he recognised the impact of the global economic crisis and the scarcity of funds for projects of this nature, he said: ‘Governments must establish priorities allocating expenditure as most private individuals and businesses do in their charitable giving. I would say that no project should have greater priority in these Islands than the completion of this facility to provide safe, appropriate and comfortable accommodation for the elderly in our community.’
With detailed plans for the future project on display, he continued, ‘It is clear to the Board that this new facility is a necessity and not a luxury. We must have a facility that does not require the evacuation of our residents during times of hurricane threat.
‘Of our 38 residents, 33 are in the “heavy care” or “heavy care plus” (bed bound) category. To move these residents to hurricane shelters is frightening for them and it places an unnecessary burden on our staff. We must have a facility that can enable our residents to remain in place during times of emergency.’
Insisting that the ‘show must go on’ Mr Reddyhough explained the plan to proceed with the available funds to construct the shell of the new building that would take advantage of the lower construction rates now available, and to continue the fundraising efforts to complete the project.
‘Our new facility will also comfortably house 52 residents in a mixture of ‘light care’, ‘heavy care’ and ‘heavy care plus’ categories,’ he said.
‘As we see the elderly population in Grand Cayman grow, we desperately need to accommodate additional residents.’
The Pines is a charitable non-profit organization established to provide residential accommodation for the elderly. Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1983 as a Retirement Home to meet the needs of independent elderly citizens during their retirement, it has now moved to the provision of nursing care in response to the needs of the community and the high care requirements of many of its residents.