JIS News

Senior citizens in Clarendon on Tuesday (Sept. 27) participated in a health fair designed to promote healthy lifestyles among the elderly.
The health fair, which was held at the St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church Hall in May Pen, was organized by the National Council on Senior Citizens (NCSC).
Millicent Thompson, Programme Organizer for the Council, told JIS News that the fair was held to mark National Senior Citizens Week from September 25 to October 1.
“It is a national observance each year.we have one health fair in a parish with the main objective being to promote healthy lifestyles. Our seniors in Jamaica are doing fairly well in terms of monitoring their health but we want to make sure that the opportunity is there for them to do it at all times because so far, we are in line with other first world countries in terms of the general state of the health of seniors,” she said.
She informed that in Jamaica, women were living to an average age of 78, while men lived to an average of 75 years.
Nova Taylor, Parish Manager with the Clarendon Council for Senior Citizens, told JIS News that some 100 seniors and volunteers from about eight clubs and other groups participated in the fair.She said that these groups included the Fernleigh and Corn Piece Prophecy Church clubs and the New Hope, Longwood, Palmer’s Cross, Old Monymusk, Bucknor, Rosewell, and Milk River community clubs.
“We thought that if we had a health fair, it would assist our seniors.we know that health care is very expensive for them. We’re very happy because this health fair is a success because .we have a number of providers. Some of them are providing health care free and some of them at a minimal cost, so most of the seniors who are here will be able to afford these services,” she said.
Among the groups and organizations, which provided health care service and dietary advice were: the Clarendon Health Department’s Wellness Clinic; the May Pen Hospital’s Dietary Unit in association with Carimed’s Ensure and Glucerna Products, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA); the Registrar General’s Department; Grace Kitchens; Blue Cross of Jamaica; Sunshine and Drug-Serv Pharmacies; and Golden Neolife Diamite (GNLD) Products.
Milda Dinnal, president of the New Hope Senior Citizens Club said the health fair was a big help. “Today is a very good day because there are a number of things that you didn’t know that you learn such as how to do your cooking using less oil, I learnt about Blue Cross benefits, I enjoyed the free screening and testing and how to use up a lot of our Jamaican foods. We need to eat and buy Jamaican,” she said.
Meanwhile, seniors in Clarendon observed Senior Citizens Week from September 11 to 16.Mrs. Taylor informed that activities comprised a service at the Grace Baptist Church on September 11; senior citizens conducted devotions in about 10 schools across the parish on September 12; and a regional awards ceremony in Manchester on September 13 where the seniors were recognised for outstanding performance in sports, art and craft, and club participation.
There was also an evening of celebration called the ‘Jamaican Experience’ in May Pen on Wednesday, September 14 where senior citizens presented Jamaican dishes, performed poetry, dances, drama and participated in a fashion show.
On Thursday, they attended a picnic at the Gloster Hall Resort and Farm in St. Ann where they swam, rode horses and played board and card games.
The week culminated with a day of visitation on September 16, where seniors spent time with patients at the May Pen Infirmary, while others visited shut-ins in their communities.