JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore says sporting activities for seniors not only encourages active and healthy aging, but also provides a healthy social outlet.
Speaking with JIS News at a recent sports day for seniors at the G.C Foster College for Sports in St. Catherine, Mr. Gallimore said events of that nature are beneficial to the society as it kept the aging population healthy.
“Persons that we consider as seniors are really still quite young, still able to do well. This sort of event encourages them and the net result is a better quality of life,” he said.
The sports day is primarily a collaborative effort between the Ministry and G.C Foster College.
Mr. Gallimore adds that the primary concern expressed by seniors was that of loneliness. “So we are going to be actively seeking every possible opportunity to get them together in some forum, perhaps an intergenerational mix through a myriad of activities,” he noted.
Explaining that extreme care was taken in ensuring that participating athletes do not endanger themselves, Programme Advisor for Education and Media at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Mrs. Charmaine McFarlane told JIS News that the over 400 participants at the sports day were thoroughly screened before they could take part in the activity they selected.
“We ensure that they do a medical,” she said. “They have to take a medical report to us along with an Electro Cardiogram (ECG). If their ECG says abnormal they can’t run and if the medical says something is not right then we don’t allow them to,” she said.
Mrs. McFarlane noted that there are some seniors who insist that they can participate in physical activities, but doctors and other medical professionals were on location to counsel these persons about the dangers to their health if they participated in their present condition. She noted that an ambulance is always on standby in the event someone needs to be taken quickly to hospital.Other associate sponsors of the sports day include the St. Catherine Parish Council, Carimed, Seprod, and Digicel Jamaica .
Participants competed in the 50 metre dash, the 100, 200, 400 and 1600 metre races, cricket ball throw, shot put and a slew of novelty races, one of which saw participation by Mr. Gallimore and Mayor of St. Catherine, Andrew Wheatley.
Mrs. McFarlane says next year’s sports day should be bigger and better and is encouraging participants to start exercising early, to keep fit and healthy and make the necessary preparations.