Montserrat has fallen well short of dealing with elderly care, says Chief Medical Officer Dr Lowell Lewis.
The CMO was giving welcome remarks to the health practitioners and representatives from the community who work in elderly care and were about to look at the draft National Policy of Care of Older Persons.
2011 Census said Montserrat had 966 people over 60 out of a population of almost 5000. Acting Director of Social Services Elaine Ryan said “in 1991 Montserrat recorded the highest elderly population in the Commonwealth Caribbean.” She said this trend continues today especially as people are living longer.
People in their 40s can expect to live at least another 40 years, Ryan told the group. “With increase in life expectancy comes a host of complications. What are the kinds of services you would like to have from the Government of Montserrat which would benefit your quality of life here?”
The group of more than 35 were reviewing a document which was initially created in 2007 by consultant Priscilla Owen. Following presentations from Dr Sharra Greenaway-Duberry and Elaine Ryan, the groups reviewed the policy then presented options they would like to include.
Hon. Minister of Health Delmaude Ryan said she was committed to seeing the policy come to life on her watch. “We tend not to think about the future. Our elderly deserve the best treatment like everyone else, to engage with peers, have physical activity and enjoy a rich life.”
CMO Lewis also encouraged the participants to consider the Montserratians in the Diaspora who dream of returning to the island to live out their final years. “Many want to come home and looking after our elderly is also good for the economy.”
The recommendations will be collated and adapted to the policy before being sent out to the public for further feedback.
By 2025 there will be 7.4 million people over 60 in the Caribbean.