Despite the current economic climate, the National Assistance Board (NAB) has been able to realise some of its goals to assist elderly persons in Barbados.

That is the word from Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett, who was speaking at a church service to mark the 34th Anniversary of the NAB at the James Street Methodist Church, James Street, Bridgetown.

He explained that successes for the department included the implementation of Day Activities and a Rehabilitative Programme, as well as a Maintenance and infrastructural upgrade at the Vauxhall Senior Citizens??? Village; the expansion of the Recreational Activities programme, with the opening of one additional centre in Eden Lodge; training for volunteers in the Helping Hands Volunteer Project; the establishment of a Safety and Health Committee; and an increase in the provision of meals for occupants of the Clyde Gollop Night Shelter by faith-based organisations.

???Consistent with the promotion of active ageing for older persons, the NAB has provided opportunities for recreational and leisure activities for the participants in its various programmes. Picnics, day trips, luncheons and other social activities are organised to provide stimulation and social interaction for our older clientele,??? Mr. Blackett added.

He also lauded the department for building and sustaining relationships with the community by equipping community members with the requisite skills to enable them to support others.

???The NAB coordinated and facilitated bereavement training with faith- based organisations, public awareness initiatives for responses to disaster, HIV workshops for older persons living in the community, and education and health promotion through a dramatic production by the Seniors HIV Drama Group,??? the Minister said.

Speaking about the department???s plans, he said this included the development of day care centres for the elderly, the strengthening of recreational activities in pursuit of active ageing and assistance in the development of the relevant legislative framework on elderly issues, including elder abuse.

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