The National Senior Games continues to be of ???special significance??? to the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, as well as the Government of Barbados, as it encourages and promotes healthy living and wellness among the elderly.

Minister of Social Care, Steven Blackett, made this assertion on Monday as he addressed the opening ceremony of the 2016 National Senior Games, held at the National Stadium.

Elaborating on the importance of the annual games, Mr. Blackett stated: ???We are able to realise the very important goal of both encouraging and allowing older adults to come together collectively to participate in activities which are healthy, uplifting, wholesome, and which give them a sense of satisfaction.???

He explained that organising the games each year also reflected the Ministry???s commitment to promoting the policy of active ageing.?????We have been endeavouring to move away from a situation where older adults seemed to have been excluded from many initiatives, programmes and sports which are generally extended to persons of younger age groups,??? he said.

While the Games afford senior athletes the opportunity ???to reminisce and develop a feeling of camaraderie???, Mr. Blackett explained that it also kept Barbados in accordance with global principles and standards.

???This is another opportunity which enables the Barbadian Government to promote and adhere to the Montreal Declaration Principles of Social Well-being, inter-generational dialogue, independence and physical and mental health???These principles are taken very seriously by other countries worldwide and as such, they consciously promote them,??? he noted.

The Social Care Minister also encouraged the athletes to strive for excellence, even if it meant either breaking or equalling existing records. ???Attempt where possible to qualify for participation in the Utah Senior Games later in the year???this will allow you to represent Barbados with distinction as you compete against some very active older adults from different countries,??? he advised.

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