A facility catering to seniors has been lauded by Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, for contributing to the ???active aging??? culture his Ministry seeks to promote.

Addressing this morning???s opening of the JOY (Just Older Youth) Senior Day Care Centre and Social Club in Highgate Gardens, Mr. Blackett explained that the Government of Barbados continued to advance a policy of ???active ageing??? as a way to help reduce the high incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension and to mitigate their impact.

???The Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development has facilitated a number of programmes and activities to give effect to the policy of active ageing. Indeed, the flagship programme of active ageing has been the National Senior Games, which will see a further expansion this year with the introduction of community games in five zones, as well as an inter-constituency domino tournament,??? he said.

Mr. Blackett added that there were plans to introduce table and card games in the coming years, as a way to combat the onset of Alzheimer???s disease.

Offering congratulations to JOY co-owners David Jordan and Liesel Daisley, Minister Blackett observed that ???more and more Barbadians are living past the age of 65 years. The centenarians we read about almost weekly bear testimony to this longevity. Indeed, this is something that we can be proud of, thanks to our high level of health care and improved standards of living over the years.???

He added that, in order to face the challenges that came with ageing, ???the elderly should be encouraged to become involved, or continue to be involved, in activities which they enjoy, so that they can remain physically and mentally fit. We cannot underestimate the value of physical activity, even when we reach this stage of our lives.???

Noting that the centre fit well into the Ministry???s current focus, Mr. Blackett disclosed: ???The National Policy on Ageing, which was laid in Parliament a few months ago, seeks to ultimately remove existing barriers that may hinder the full participation of older persons in mainstream Barbadian society. This will be achieved with the involvement of all agencies, government and non-governmental, that are involved in developing programmes and services for the elderly.?????

He added that the Committee that will guide the plan of action for the implementation of the National Policy on Ageing would soon be launched.?????This Centre certainly complements the Activities/Programmes of the National Assistance Board and the Soroptimist Village, in mitigating loneliness among the elderly, facilitating socialising with peers, providing opportunities to learn and improve their skills, and stimulating their minds and bodies in a secure environment,??? the Minister remarked. ???It will be of a tremendous benefit also to working individuals in the immediate vicinity who will be able to leave their loved ones in a safe, caring and wholesome environment during the day,??? he noted.

The Centre, which will cater to 20 seniors, will offer activities such as light exercise and gardening, learning about technology, karaoke and a book club.


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