There are over 650,000 people in Haiti aged 60 and over. That’s 6.5% of the population. Most of these elderly have lived through a lot. Not only have they endured through the regimes of the Duvaliers and various military coups d’état, they have also lived through some horrific natural disasters such as the devastating earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Nursing homes are not common in Haiti and the elderly are commonly cared for by their families. But as food costs rise and households experience food insecurity, the situation of many elderly people has become very vulnerable. With limited resources, families are forced to make extremely difficult choices. The sad fact is that just as children sometimes become “poverty orphans,” the elderly are sometimes abandoned and become a “forgotten people.”
Laman Outreach has the privilege of partnering with community leaders in Merger de Sibert and Renaissance Village, Haiti in meeting the needs of some of the most impoverished elderly in this village. We want to make sure that each elderly person, or granmoun, is cared for and knows that they are valued and loved by God. Physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are all addressed. Each elderly person is provided monthly staples such as rice and beans, and volunteers wash their clothes, visit them, and pray with them. We have also expanded our program to include medical oversight and caring for their hypertension. The Laman Community Outreach Center has space specifically for the elderly to be able to interact with each other and with volunteers from the church as they pray and play games together.
*Statistics on the Haitian elderly gleaned from WHO and HelpAge International