Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Gabrielle Springer, and Minister Kirk Humphrey, speaking with President of the Soroptimist International Barbados, Ramona Smart, during a visit at the Soroptimist Senior Citizen’s Village recently. ( J. Rawlins-Bentham/BGIS)

Government is moving to roll out a number of programmes to encourage citizens to age actively.

But, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, said such an initiative would have to be done through a collaborative effort between the public and private sector.

He made these comments during a tour of the Soroptimst Senior Citizens’ Village at Eden Lodge, St. Michael, recently.

The Minister lamented the fact that the traditional mechanisms of care that were once the hallmark of Barbados, where the family would take care of their elderly members, were breaking down more and more, resulting in the state having to step forward to fill the gaps.

He stressed that the expansion of programmes for the elderly was essential to reach more people, and allow Barbados to become a centre where getting old did not mean increasing morbidity, but increasing activity and friendliness.

But, he stated, Government could not do it alone, and it was therefore essential to establish partnerships with entities such as the Soroptimst Senior Citizens’ Village. “It has to be a symbiotic relationship where we can help the Soroptimist and they can help us,” he said.

Mr. Humphrey further noted that he had included a number of proposals geared at allowing persons to age actively and building out programmes to allow for intergenerational exchanges to allow the elderly to interact and relate with younger people.

During the tour, the Minister, accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, Gabrielle Springer; Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mark Franklin, and other department heads, visited a number of other agencies, including the Nightengale Children’s Home; Bullens Agricultural Station; Lancaster House; the Speightstown Branch of the Welfare Department and the Farrs Children’s Home.

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