Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Going the extra mile for travellers

Published:Friday | August 5, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson presents a gift package to the oldest female living in Jericho, Hanover, 96-year-old Essie Willocks, during a recognition dinner for senior citizens of that community on Sunday, July 31.

Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson has noted the importance of managing healthy lifestyles, especially among seniors and those who will fall into that group in years to come.

"As minister, I encourage us all to practise healthy habits throughout our lives and to maintain physical, emotional and spiritual health," she said while addressing a recognition dinner for 52 senior citizens from the community of Jericho, Hanover, held at the Tryall Club in Hanover on Sunday. In paying homage to the seniors, she noted that they had touched many lives and it was heart-warming that the Jericho Reunion Committee was paying tribute to them.

Citing statistics from the United Nations, Robinson that said there were some 800 million people across the world who were 60 years old and over, representing 11.5 per cent of the global population. The number is projected to increase to one billion in less than 10 years and should be doubled by 2050, accounting for 22 per cent of the world's population at that time.

PROGRAMMES FOR THE AGED

She disclosed that in Jamaica, the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) has been working on programmes to assist that cohort of senior citizens, which make up 11 per cent of the population. This is expected to be doubled by 2020.

"The implications of these demographics are recognised by our agency, the National Council for Senior Citizens, which is mandated to oversee the welfare and well-being of seniors," said Robinson. The council, she disclosed, was working to promote active ageing, encourage participation of seniors in nation building and give recognition to seniors as vital and useful members of society and promote inter-generational interactions.

Robinson highlighted a number of programmes and projects implemented by the NCSC, including the removal of user fees in public health institutions, the provision of free health care for seniors, concessionary transport for seniors in Kingston, Montego Bay and Trelawny on state-owned buses, the provision of health care for seniors through the National Health Fund, and the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme, provision of NI Gold for pensioners under the National Insurance Scheme, and the provision of social protection under the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education.

She said the Government was seeking to provide an enabling environment to ensure that Jamaicans can age and live active, productive and healthy lives with dignity.

- JIS