One of the unique initiatives considered by local planners of a series of activities, through the Department of Social and Community Development, is a Media Outreach.
To further the objects of this activity, the Department on Monday 3rd October, 2011, met with representatives of local media to present an overview of the Elder Care Program being implemented by the Department of Social Services. They also used the occasion to officially launch the Calendar of Activities for the Month of the Elderly while also formally introducing the Home care Officers who are responsible for implementing the Home Care Program, which is this year marking its 10th Anniversary.
According to officials at Social & Community Development, the Media Outreach was also intended to begin the national sensitization effort around the challenges and opportunities for ageing.
Permanent Secretary in the Department of Social and Community Development, Ms. Sharon Rattan, reminded the media that it was back in 1990 on 4th December that the General Assembly of the United Nations, by resolution, designated 1st October as the International Day of Older Persons.
She said that since that time, the international community has further solidified their commitment to ensuring that seniors are engaged, cared for and supported throughout the development agenda of the individual member countries, including St. Kitts and Nevis.
Rattan explained that such commitments are outlined in the 1982 Vienna International Plan of Action on ageing which was adopted during the World Assembly on Ageing.
Rattan said it was against the backdrop of the international commitments that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis in January 2001 introduced the Elderly Affairs Unit within the Department of Social and Community Development. The Unit she said was charged with the responsibility to provide services and programs to engage, care and support the senior citizens of St. Kitts.
It was during the first year, said Rattan, that the Unit introduced the Home care Program which sees to the home care needs of persons who are not actively involved in the productive sector.
Some 127 citizens are presently benefitting from the program which is administered by 18 associates who see to the personal and household care, medical and general services along with companionship needs of those in the program.
Over 18 different activities have been organized to celebrate the Month of the Elderly, under the theme, “Understanding and Planning for the Growing Opportunities and Challenges of Ageing”.