#WishList: A Visit

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines- Lola Sepha was sitting near the door. Alone and silent, her eyes were fixed outside. Seemed she was wondering how vibrant life beyond the fence is.

On the other side of the room was Lolo Josef. Seated on a bench that gave him a good view of the garden, he appeared to be reminiscing his gone better days; young and active and surrounded by cheerful people.

It was a dull afternoon. No visitors and only the routine activities would consume the remaining hours of the day: Divine Mercy prayer at three and dinner at five-thirty, then it’s time to hit the hay. 

Lola Josefa and Lolo Josef are just two of the 14 elderly people living in St. Joseph’s Golden Home Foundation Inc. (SJGH), a non-profit charitable foundation which serves as a home to indigent and abandoned older Filipino men and women, aged 65 years and older.

Unable to speak and write, both of them were named after the nursing home when the social workers from Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) failed to trace their background and families.

Run by the Sisters of Missionary Congregation of Mary, the institution is the only of its kind in Cagayan de Oro. And since founded in September 5, 2003, it has already helped and housed more than 25 indigent and abandoned elderly people; some were laid to rest. 

‘Seniors’ in the Philippines

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported that in 2010 there were approximately 6.4 million senior citizens or people ages 60 years old and up in the Philippines. 

NSCB also identified that there were 0.8 million and 1.0 million poor senior citizens in 2003 and 2006 respectively, and comprised 4.0% and 4.7% of the poor population for the said years.
The same report also named ARMM, Region IX and Region VII as the regions with the highest poverty incidence (having an income below the Poverty Threshold) among senior citizens in 2006; with 34.3%, 31.0%, and 29.5% respectively.

             "Abandoned by the very persons whom they thought would care for 
                             them in their twilight years."--Follow #GoiNextDoor on Facebook.

The rights of senior citizens are enumerated in R.A. 9994, otherwise known as Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. It strengthens the constitutional mandate of the state towards its elderly people; to value dignity and guarantees full respect for human rights. 

However, and just like in every sector, not all senior citizens are enjoying their rights. Some are neglected, abandoned and worst, abused by their own family. 

Just like in some cases of the elderly at SJGH, abandoned by the very persons whom they thought would care for them in their twilight years. 

Back in St. Joseph

Boredom is inevitable in nursing homes like SJGH.  Aside from lack of facilities that will help strengthen the body of the elderly, the institution is not also known to many, even to the city residents, thus few visit the site. 

Lolo Josef sitting in a wooden bench. If you know him personally or know the whereabouts of his family, please contact the SJGH. Photo courtesy of SJGH Facebook Page. 

“We are hoping that many people will visit us; share their time and organize activities that will entertain our elderly. It will help ease their loneliness and boredom” shared Mr. Steve Sacal, the resident nurse of SJGH.

“Groups are preferable but it doesn't mean we discourage individual walkthrough” Mr. Sacal continued. “Our elders do not need much material gifts. The time you will spend with them is enough to make them happy” he added.

Aside from visits, the institution has printed their wish list. It contains everyday commodities that will help the elderly live a better life. And that includes milk, sugar, biscuits, cooking oil, coffee, shampoo, body soap, detergent soap, dishwashing soap, diapers, toilet paper, alcohol, Zonrox, soy sauce, vinegar, rice and powder soap.

The institution is also in need of big cooking pot, frying pan, kettle, tables, plates, spoons and forks, chairs, ladle, blender, toaster, electric air pot, basin and pail, and cleaning materials such as mops.

As for the medication of the elderly, SJGH needs help to acquire Amlodipine (10mg/tab), Losartan (50mg/tab), Aspirin (80mg/tab), Simvastatin (40mg/tab), ISMN (30mg/tab), Essentiale forte, Celecoxib (200mg/tab), Trimetazidine (35mg/tab), Captopril (25mg/tab), Chlorpromazine (50mg/tab), Fluimucil (600mg/tab), Arcoxia (120mg/tab), Memantine (10mg/tab), Carbamazepine (200mg/tab), Metoprolol (tartrate, 50mg) and multivitamins with Iron.  

In what we call the jolliest time of the year, and when most of us will celebrate Christmas in the comfort of our loved ones, there are people who need care, time and attention. Just like the elderly at SJGH.

What makes Lolo Josef and Lola Sepha keep looking outside? We are uncertain. Maybe we are right to think that they are wondering what’s beyond the fence. Or, they could be reminiscing their gone better days. It leaves us unsure.

Could it be that they keep looking outside in anticipation for our arrival to celebrate their golden years with us? It could be! 

We should not deprive them of the simple things we can do for now. Let's share the most precious gift we ever received, let’s share our time to the elderly in St. Joseph’s Golden Home Foundation Inc. 

St. Joseph's Golden Home Foundation, Inc., is located at Clemente Fernandez Extension - 
18th St. Nazareth, 9000 Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. You can reach them through this number: (088) 856-3755. You may also send them your message at their email address: sjghf_cdo@yahoo.com or through their Facebook page. The map below could be also of great help. 

Share your thoughts about this post. Use the comment form below. 
A version of this post was published in Rappler.com. Read it here.


  1. This is sad but very enlightening. It's awful to be old and being not with the family :(.

    This post should be shared so more and more people/Kagay-anons will know their needs. Thank you for taking the time to share this story.

    1. Thanks Ms. Em for giving this post a read. I hope we can help the elderly in SJGH in our own little ways.

  2. This is really sad but I am glad that there is a place for them to stay. SJGH is doing a good deed to our elderly people especially those who were abandoned.

    Thank you for sharing us this story. God bless.