Blackett: Government will Continue Programmes for Seniors

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Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, viewing some of the exhibits with patrons at the opening ceremony of the National Assistance Board’s Senior’s?? art and craft exhibition. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

While many factors such as chronic non-communicable diseases, elder abuse, and Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia threaten the social gains made by Barbados’ seniors, government will continue to put programmes in place to ensure older Barbadians enjoy an enhanced quality of life.

This assurance was given by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, as he addressed the opening ceremony of a Seniors’ Art and Craft exhibition at the Grand Salle of the Central Bank of Barbados this morning.

Mr. Blackett said his Ministry would continue to promote healthy and active aging through initiatives such as the Seniors’ Recreational Activities Programme of the National Assistance Board (NAB), which seeks to make use of their experience, creativity, skills and talents.

"Population aging in our society is a reality. It dictates that improved policies must be pursued to create greater inclusion, participation and engagement of older persons as well as the fast tracking of an effective policy of healthy and active aging.

"It is my view that just as we have structured and developed programmes for our children, the youth and our working population, we must design and implement appropriate programmes and activities for our increasing older population," he pointed out.

Describing the Recreational Activities Programme as "a creative plank" in the strategy to overcome societal challenges, Mr. Blackett stressed that Barbadians should never be complacent when it came to the country’s future.

He suggested that one way to further develop programmes for the elderly was to form strategic partnerships within the communities.

"What we must strive to attain is a renewed focus and vigorous pursuit of linkages of such programmes with other entities in the communities – the schools, the churches, youth groups and civil associations and the health sector. It is increasingly clear that shared partnerships are the way to go for the demands of the society to be successfully met," the Social Care Minister said.

Mr. Blackett noted that the continued involvement and participation of Barbados’ seniors in the social, cultural, economic, and spiritual affairs of the country, would help to stem the tide of social decay which was impacting communities across the globe.

The Art and Craft exhibition continues tomorrow, Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. All persons are invited to come and view the exhibition.

andre.skeete@barbados.gov.bb

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