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    • Social Protection Analyst at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Camille Graham, has underscored the need for continuous dialogue on the implications of the ageing population and how to capitalise on opportunities that this group offers to the economy and society.
    • Ms. Graham said that citizens and stakeholders “must be mindful of the social, economic and environmental implications of the ageing population in Jamaica, what this phenomenon means for all of us and how we can make it work in the best interest of all”.
    • She was addressing a recent ‘Dialogue for Development Series’ public consultation at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, themed ‘Ageing and Development: Exploding Myths, Exploring Opportunities’.

    Social Protection Analyst at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Camille Graham, has underscored the need for continuous dialogue on the implications of the ageing population and how to capitalise on opportunities that this group offers to the economy and society.

    Ms. Graham said that citizens and stakeholders “must be mindful of the social, economic and environmental implications of the ageing population in Jamaica, what this phenomenon means for all of us and how we can make it work in the best interest of all”.

    She was addressing a recent ‘Dialogue for Development Series’ public consultation at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, themed ‘Ageing and Development: Exploding Myths, Exploring Opportunities’.

    Ms. Graham pointed out that Jamaica has an ageing population and, as such, consideration must be given to the impact this may have on the provision of public services, healthcare, and other general services.

    “We must consider if public service institutions have the capacity to offer the range of services to an older population with more diverse range of needs and preferences, taking into consideration those returning from overseas,” she pointed out.

    She noted that with an ageing population comes greater demand for goods and services, which will require public- and private-sector involvement to adequately meet the needs.

    “As the population ages, we must consider how towns and cities are organised, the physical layout, the varying needs in the design of transportation systems, how the elderly access public services and how they will transition to using technologies,” Ms. Graham said.

    She added that in city and town planning, consideration must be given to creating recreational spaces that allow for multigenerational usage and interaction across age groups.

    Ms. Graham said that also important are location and design of homes and options for independent or assisted living.

    “So, as we aim for greater development over time, the ultimate goal has to be a universal approach where the environment is designed in such a way that it can be used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, size or ability,” she pointed out.

    Ms. Graham called for players in the relevant sectors to facilitate discussions, explore and capitalise on the opportunities that the ageing population offers.

    “An ageing population can pose challenges but there are opportunities also if approached by the right mindset, accompanied by the appropriate policy responses by the Government, civil society and business interests,” she said.

    She noted that there are “huge gains to be made if an innovative approach is taken… gains that can be realised not only by big business but young persons interested in entrepreneurship”.

    She cited opportunities in housing, including converting or retrofitting areas so that they are amenable to the needs of an older person who may have a physical challenge; and developing housing villages specifically for the elderly or that support independent living.

    “In healthcare, the opportunities are almost endless, bearing in mind the life-course approach that should be taken in addressing ageing, such as preventive care, therapeutic, curative and all other forms of care possible for improved quality of life,” she noted.

    There are also opportunities in transportation, recreation, entertainment, sport, leisure, investment and insurance, and security.

    Also to be explored are virtual retirement communities, where services are provided that allow seniors to remain in their homes; delivery of healthcare services using the Internet, and the design of devices and infrastructure to facilitate mobility and access.

    The ‘Dialogue for Development Series’ public consultation is being hosted by the PIOJ and is intended to examine the correlative social, economic and environmental implications of ageing in sustainable development; facilitate discussions on how ageing can influence policy formulation in various sectors; and explore the opportunities that ageing offers to the economy and society.

    The next forum in the series is slated for November 14 in St. Ann.