Give us a hand
Elderly St John couple living in deplorable conditions, pleads for help
For over 15 years Wilson and Louise Yearwood have been living in a crumbling, dilapidated house in Clifton Hall, St John.
The one bedroom, wooden house barely stands at the edge of the Clifton Hall slope, overlooking the breath-taking crystal blue waters of Martins Bay, St John.
However, the view inside the Yearwood home is more shocking. The roof of the Government-owned structure is littered with gaping holes and is in desperate need of repair, with rusting galvanize and terrible leaks.
In the kitchen, Wilson has constructed a makeshift tap on top of a self-made wooden countertop, and next to it is a rusting unusable stove. Barely able to afford their necessities on his medically unfit cheques and his wife’s pension, the 66-year-old pleaded for assistance.
“Somebody went here two years ago from Rural Development [Commission], they told us they would do the house but up to this present moment they have not come back,” remarked the former employee of Clifton Hall Plantation.
Wilson said after his attempts to contact the RDC proved futile, he turned to Member of Parliament for St John Mara Thompson, who informed the elderly couple that Government simply did not have the funds.
“Before the last election she told me as soon as she gets in the House . . . she will help with the house and she didn’t help with it. Up to the last time I called she said the Government doesn’t have no money, they can’t help,” Wilson recalled.
After undergoing his surgery in 1983 for a condition he did not disclose, Wilson had been unable to work, relying on financial assistance from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and for a very long time, emotional and physical support from his wife.
However, the 75-year-old Louise, who was once the breadwinner of the family, is now ailing with Alzheimer’s disease and Wilson has become his wife’s caretaker.
“I can’t leave home to go anywhere; she can’t walk anywhere because she would walk away,” Wilson told Barbados TODAY.
As Wilson gave the team a tour of his home, the dirty floors revealed evidence of rodents, and buckets were placed throughout the home in a desperate attempt to catch water leaking through the roof that was supposed to help keep the family dry.
Despite her ailment, Louise revealed that whenever it rains heavily, the small wooden structure becomes flooded and can take up two days for the water to subside.
She added that the rodents had virtually taken over the house, at which point Wilson said, “They have all our clothes destroyed. At night I have to run them all from in here, and they like they know better than me or you.”
What was most disconcerting for the elderly couple was the lack of safety, as the windows in their bedroom and living room were constantly falling out.
“It has me really worried . . . I’m scared at night. How things are, you have to be careful,” he said.
The elderly couple said they have a middle aged daughter, but they have to look after themselves because she is unable to assist them.
Ideally, they would prefer to lean on each other, their physical and financial constraints notwithstanding. However, their penury does not deter Wilson, who is seeking to provide a more user-friendly home for his ailing wife.
“When I was sick [Louise] dealt with me, when I had my operation she was the only person I had, so I have to do right by her,” he said.