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National registry to be implemented for senior citizens

Friday, September 22, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) —The Ministry of Labour and Social Security says it is ensuring the safety and security of the nation's elderly citizens through the development of a National Registry for seniors.

Speaking at the launch of Senior Citizens' Week 2017 on September 21 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson, said the Registry, which falls under the National Policy for Senior Citizens, aims to capture data on the older members of society.

The National Policy for Senior Citizens is being revised and is to be submitted to Cabinet for review shortly.

The review will include an assessment of the ministry's programmes and services concerning the elderly.

Robinson said that the initiative is essential, as it will lay the foundation for the Government to better address the needs of senior citizens through policies and programmes.

Stating that there have been increased incidents of abuse of older members of the population, Robinson said the registry will play a critical role in protecting this vulnerable group.

“The registry will let us know where these persons are, what their needs are, and then we will be better able to zero in on abuse. Once we know what their circumstances are, then the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) can intervene in these instances, and if persons need to be removed into assisted living or into homes, then that decision can be made; but, if we don't know the numbers, we cannot plan,” she said.

“This registration will probably be one of the most important things to come out of the national policy, because at the end of the data-collection period, we will be able to say we have so many senior citizens registered and these are the needs, so we will be able to direct the resources that we have in a more meaningful way to serve senior citizens in Jamaica,” she added.

The registry, which is slated to become operational by the end of the year, will also assist in providing vital data for the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

Grounded on the projection that the number of senior citizens is expected to double by the year 2050, the National Policy for Senior Citizens envisages a developmental approach for senior citizens that stresses the importance of considering seniors in strategies for national development.

The policy addresses the provision of protection and care for senior citizens through appropriate support services, while preserving their human dignity and enabling them to live worthwhile lives. It also provides for proper resource allocation for the social and economic welfare of seniors, while appropriately respecting their rights, responsibilities and roles.

Senior Citizens' Week will be observed from Sunday, September 24 to Tuesday, October 3.




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