Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 03, 2018 (SKNIS): The Department of Social and Community Development and by extension the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is moving to ensure that older persons are protected, cared for and remain engaged in society. Against this backdrop an ageing policy is being reviewed.

During her appearance on ‘Working for You’ on Wednesday, October 03, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Services, Janelle Lewis, said that an assessment of the Federation’s ageing population was carried out several years ago that looked at issues faced by older persons in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“For this draft policy that we want to present, we intend for this to be one that promoted things like healthy ageing; active ageing; inter-generational solidarity; and accessibility, which is a large thing that would impede older persons enjoying their older years… so when we put these things in place thinking that they are for older persons or persons with disabilities, some day they would also benefit all of us,” said the acting permanent secretary. “Sometimes we need to have specific policies or legislation because there are certain groups in society who need that little extra and older persons are a part of that.”

She added that the policy will cater to every citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“In looking at the ageing policy, we didn’t just want to put a policy in place that looked at what we should do when persons are already 62 and over. We wanted to do a policy that span their whole life span. So you put things in place for persons from when they are young that would end up making the society a more inclusive and better one for when they become older persons,” she said.

She touched on both the old and the young who suffer from chronic diseases and noted that the health of everyone will also be considered in the policy.

“The policy promotes education across the entire life span. It supports things that would promote a healthier lifestyle while you are younger so that when you get to that old age you may not, hopefully, have to contend with hypertension and diabetes. But if you do, then there should also be things in place according to the policy that would help you to have access to your medication and to adequate care,” said Permanent Secretary Lewis.

The permanent secretary said that an important aspect of the policy is to encourage persons to start planning for their retirement so as to deal with the issue of poverty. She noted that certain schemes should be in place that would assist persons to plan for their older years.