What a difference a walker makes

Isabel Buznadiego always has her walker close at hand. At 89-years-old, it is not surprising that she is less agile than she once was.

Although Buznadiego is still able to walk, she has difficulties with balance. So instead of being limited in her mobility, reliant on staff and suffering other secondary effects of immobility, she uses the walker faithfully.

Buznadiego’s walker comes from HPIC. It is among the host of medical supplies, devices and equipment provided to the Cuban Council of Churches (CCC) Care for Seniors program along with donations of medicine since 2003.

The CCC is a network of church groups across the country in 12 provinces. The Care for Seniors program is part of the CCC’s Community Life and Health Ministry. Currently, there are about 3,500 senior citizens being reached by the program that targets those who have fallen through the cracks of the current health system.

Through the CCC, some elderly people live in seniors’ residences, or what Cubans call “Grandpa homes,” others spend their time at day centres, some are served by lunch programs and those who are too frail to go out benefit from home visits.

Buznadiego lives at a nursing home in Colon, Cuba, operated by the Band of Gideon church. HPIC staff member Marcelle McPhaden recently visited the home, where she participated in a training symposium for people involved in caring for the elderly. McPhaden’s workshop, “Handle with Care,” was designed to teach caregivers about lifting techniques and injury prevention for both patients and caregivers.

When she met Buznadiego, McPhaden saw first-hand how a piece of equipment from HPIC had made one old woman’s life a little easier. “The walker is my friend,” she said proudly.