Workshop tackles issues facing older people

| 12/07/2016
CNS Local Life

(L-R) Pines Retirement Home resident Olive Miller and Maureen Jervis-Brooks of the Children and Youth Services Foundation participating in the workshop

(CNS): About 90 people attended a recent workshop focused on social, economic and healthcare issues affecting older persons in the community. The event, held Friday, 1 July, offered members of the public, their advocates and other community members an opportunity to have a say on these topics in relation to the upcoming National Older Persons Policy.

Chairperson Debbie Webb-Sibblies and other members of the steering committee that is developing the policy, organised the half-day meeting at the Family Life Centre. Their objective was to seek public input on the development of a policy, which aims to protect the lifestyle and human rights of older persons living in the Cayman Islands.

Attendees included representatives from stakeholder organisations such as the Ministry of Community Affairs, the Department of Children and Family Services, Public Transport Unit, Needs Assessment Unit, CINICO, Health Services Authority and the University College of the Cayman Islands. Other participants included representatives from Rotary and Lions Clubs, Meals on Wheels, Cayman HospiceCare, several churches, the Chamber of Commerce, and residents of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Proceedings got underway with a skit that touched on some of the concerns that affect older persons, including the limited use of public transport, government benefits, access to healthcare and insurance, and responsibility of family members towards older persons.

Minister of Planning Kurt Tibbetts, on behalf of Minister of Community Affairs Osbourne Bodden, opened the workshop. He outlined the Cayman Islands Government’s 2015/2016 Strategic Policy Statement, which called for the steering committee as well as mandated the identification of legislation and resources to protect the rights of older persons and address their needs. He outlined the five key points on which the policy will focus to improve the welfare and quality of life of older persons: participation, independence, self-fulfillment, care and dignity.

Stakeholders broke into smaller groups to discuss concerns and solutions related to the given topics. Issues ranged from older people’s ability to live independently and with dignity to the surprising lack of resources available to meet basic needs such as clean water in some districts.

Solutions put forward included legislation to protect and care for the elderly; a national commission to regulate policies for the elderly; recreational and social centres; allocated transport for older persons; a national health insurance retirement policy; assisted living facilities; technology workshops; and better information to the public of services already available for older persons such as free classes at the university and shopping benefits.

The day ended with short presentations in which participants highlighted several services that are available to older persons as well as challenges and areas which need improvement and further development.

A member of the public summed up the sentiment underlying much of the event, by saying, “I may be getting up in age but I am not obsolete.”

A report summarising the feedback from the workshop will be available shortly to the public.


Category: Community

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