What it takes to maintain a ‘world-class’ home for seniors

Jee Y. Geronimo
What it takes to maintain a ‘world-class’ home for seniors
With more senior citizens expected to enter Haven for the Elderly in the coming years, a budget of at least P29 million is needed to to hire more staff and build more infrastructures

RIZAL, Philippines – Seniors’ facility Haven for the Elderly was just 4 years old when it was recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 2014.

Formerly known as Quezon City’s Golden Acres, Haven for the Elderly was relocated to a more spacious lot in Tanay, Rizal, in 2010 so it can be a “global and experiential center for the elderly.”

The goal is to be a world-class facility that caters to abandoned seniors.

Five years since the move from Quezon City, former DSWD Undersecretary Celia Yangco said the facility can already be labeled as world-class, “infrastructure-wise.”

But for Ricky Bunao, center manager of Haven for the Elderly, they still lack a lot of infrastructures that will allow them to continue providing quality services to a growing number of clientele.

Preventing overcapacity

Currently, the facility caters to a total of 259 older persons who live in 19 cottages, each with a 20-bed capacity.

Bunao admitted the standard requires only 15 beds in each cottage so that seniors can move freely inside.

“But then we need to manage, kasi wala naman kaming (because we don’t have any) extra facility,” he told Rappler on Wednesday, April 29, after the celebration of Haven for the Elderly’s 5th founding anniversary.

Bunao expects the number of residents to swell in the coming years, because more older persons – 20 to 30 – enter the facility every year compared to those who go back to their families.

To prevent overcapacity in the near future, Bunao said they will need to build 5 new cottages that can accommodate up to 100 more older persons.

He also proposed other needed infrastructures, such as:

  • A multi-purpose training conference center
  • An isolation room for clients with psychotic problems
  • An isolation room for clients with diseases
  • A warehouse 
  • A perimeter fence

Proposed 2016 budget

The facility will also need to hire more personnel – 36 houseparents, two social workers, 5 nurses, one activity therapist, 3 cooks, and 3 maintenance workers – for proper case management. Right now, one social worker serves 25 clients, one house parent serves 10 clients, and one nurse serves 25 clients. 

MORE FACILITIES NEEDED. A proposed P29-million budget will cover the construction of more cottages and other facilities inside the Haven for the Elderly. Photo by Jee Geronimo/Rappler

Overall, Bunao said they will need a budget of P29 million ($655,206.68) in 2016 to meet all infrastructure and manpower needs, and to maintain the “world-class” standards of Haven for the Elderly. 

This is more than double their 2015 budget of P14 million ($316,313.71).

The facility’s budget has already increased significantly in recent years. In 2013, when Bunao first took over the management of Haven for the Elderly, the budget was only P7 million ($158,157.56). It grew to P12 million ($271,127.24) in 2014. 

“The challenge is the funding sustainability; it’s our greatest challenge. We are operating [with] just a limited budget,” Bunao explained.

He recognized the huge gap between their proposed 2016 budget and the current budget, and hoped for at least a staggered release of the required funding.

“Hopefully, kung ito ay ma-approve, kami po ay magpapasalamat. Pero kung hindi naman ito ibibigay kaagad, [kahit] dahan-dahan, at least ma-complete ito in the next couple of years,” he said. 

(Hopefully, if they approve this budget, we will be grateful. But if they don’t give it immediately, they can give it gradually so that at least we can complete these projects in the next couple of years.)

For now, they will continue their partnerships with different corporate and non-governmental organizations to sustain what has already been achieved in the last 5 years. (READ: For the elderly, the best gift we can give is time)

“I foresee this village na para siyang isang community na talagang kakaiba (as a community that is really different)….We’ll prepare for the future of the elderly, [but we] better prepare now,” he added. – Rappler.com

*1 US$ = P44.26

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.