JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, wants more programmes that will incorporate senior citizens in the “productive process”, as well as engage them in pivotal roles in community building.
In a brief address, delivered by Director of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Denzil Thorpe, at a National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) seminar at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston, on Tuesday (September 29), Mr. Gallimore revealed that the average life expectancy for females is 75.3 years, and 71.8 years for males.
“With this phenomenon of a rapidly ageing population, we must recognise that older persons are valuable resources in our society. The country stands to gain from an empowered older generation, with the potential to make a tremendous contribution to the development process,” he contended.
Mr. Gallimore advised that the Ministry has commenced this process, through the NCSC which, he said, promotes the welfare of seniors, and makes representation on their behalf in a variety of ways.
The Council continues to build on the capacity of seniors, through educational and informational workshops and seminars. Other activities geared at their health and lifestyle include: health clinics, income generating projects, skills training seminars, spelling competitions, sporting activities and feeding programmes, the State Minister outlined.
Mr. Gallimore said that the Government remained committed to improving the programmes offered, through the Ministry.
These programmes include: the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP); National Health Fund (NHF); Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH); poor relief assistance; the National Insurance Scheme (NIS); the NIS Pensioners Health Plan – NIGOLD: and free health care at public hospitals and clinics.
“But, more needs to be done to garner our seniors’ knowledge and experience. We can begin by engaging them more in the family,” he said.
He explained that the society – grappling with crime and violence, low educational output, among other things – is reflecting more and more negative outcomes, with a departure from traditional values and beliefs and morals and attitudes.
“Our seniors believe in these values, and spent a lifetime promoting them and being productive citizens. If seniors are given more active roles in the family, youths can learn from them,” Mr. Gallimore insisted.
Tuesday’s seminar was one of several activities marking Senior Citizens’ Week, which is being celebrated September 27 to October 3. It targeted members of the Jamaica Government Pensioners Association. It also featured presentations from experts in the areas of health and nutrition, financial management and legal issues impacting pensioners.

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