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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senator seeks volunteers to help abandoned older adults

Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera

By The Star Staff

As a practical response to the crisis of abandoned older adults, Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera, along with the Family Secretary Ciení Rodríguez Troche, has been on the road across the island recruiting volunteers for training to address the crisis.

Nearly 300 volunteers have already been trained and recruited with tools to go out into their community, churches and hospitals in search of older adults who have been abandoned by their families and have no one to assist them.

“The trainings offered in Humacao, Ponce and Hatillo have brought in dozens of chaplains, social workers, pastors and priests and community organizations to train for several hours, with topics ranging from statistics, how to do a needs study, links to where to go for a referral, psychological support tools and practical examples of how to create a ministry or specialization in your organization to serve this population,” the senator said this week.

She added that the “Family Department only has about 1,000 social workers to deal with all the emergencies that are referred to it, including children’s.”

“They can’t cope,” Riquelme Cabrera said. “This is a request for help from the state so that society, especially the organizations that are already providing a service to the community, get involved in the solution for this crisis. I don’t want to see an old man under a bridge in the near future because there was no one to give him a hand due to lack of knowledge of the existing programs and who will help him. There are almost a million older adults and the Family Department cannot cope. We need people with big hearts and a desire to serve their neighbors.”

The next training will be this Friday at the Convention Center in Corozal at 9 a.m. Admission is free and all interested parties from the mountain region are invited to attend.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting Joyce Negrón at 787-381-2298.

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