In his address, Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, noted that senior citizens in Jamaica currently constitute 11.3 per cent of the population.
“Not only are Jamaicans living longer than before, but longevity on their part can be easily compromised, if sufficient effort is not invested in a healthy lifestyle,” Mr. Kellier said.
He pointed out that the activities planned for Senior Citizens Week are designed to improve health in the ageing population.
“This objective is not beyond us as a developing society, especially if we refrain from viewing ageing as a burden. The Government is of the view that by showcasing practical examples of health promotion…and making available key resources about healthy ageing, we can successfully build solid awareness of the steps required to make healthy ageing a reality,” Mr. Kellier said.
He argued that health is a determinant of economic growth and competitiveness, and healthy ageing contributes to the labour supply and decreases the likelihood of premature retirement.
Mr. Kellier said the Government will continue to work assiduously to improve programmes being offered to the elderly, including the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme, the National Health Fund, National Insurance Scheme (NIS), NI Gold Health Scheme for NIS Pensioners and the free health care at public hospitals.
“It is my wish that the community outreach activities of the coming week will focus on the need for increased physical activities for members, mental health issues, the use of medication and associated problems…,” he said.
The week long activities will commence on Sunday, September 27, with a thanksgiving service at the Church of God of Prophesy in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, followed by a garden party on Monday (September 28), at the St. Andrew Parish Church Hall. The NCSC will also observe Grandparents Day on Sunday, September 27.
A tree-planting exercise will be held on Tuesday, September 29, at the Jerusalem Mustard Seed Communities, in Windsor Road, St. Catherine, and on Wednesday, September 30, the NCSC will conduct a community outreach project.
Activities continue on Thursday, October 1, with islandwide parish award functions, while an evening of entertainment will be held on Saturday, October 3 at The Mico University Auditorium, 1A Marescaux Road, starting at 3:00 p.m.
On Friday, October 2, a Parish Exhibition Day will be held at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
For more information, persons can contact the NCSC at 906-9277-8.