The government of the Commonwealth of Dominica is taking a step forward in creating a safe environment for the country’s elder citizens by creating a national advisory board. The board will be dealing with all matters affecting elder citizens, and it will prioritize the creation of a National Dementia Plan and enhance legislation to make elder abuse a crime.
The above points were mentioned during a press briefing addressed by Dr Cassandra Williams, Minister of State and the Ministery of Health, Wellness and Social Service with special responsibility for senior security and Marie Terrence Johncare, owner of the premium home and residential services, Fox.
While addressing, Dr Cassandra Williams said, “the government of Dominica holds a proud and distinguished record of service to Dominica’s elderly through the Yes We Care Programme, monthly allowances and provision of adequate housing. We have always sought to ensure the comfort of our seniors.”
Dr Williams added that society is judged on how the most vulnerable people are being treated, and the policies passed by the government are speaking for themselves as they directly focus on the welfare of the elderly citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Furthermore, explaining the Yes We Care Programme, Dr Williams said that under this programme, elderly people are provided with daily assistance in routine household chores.
The government also introduced payment of non-contributory pensions to people 70 years of age and over, but this January, the starting age was changed to 65 years who are retired and do not qualify for social security pension.
Marie Terrence Johncare said, “I want to tell the world that older people everywhere count. People of all ages should be included in sustainable development goals. As we get older, our rights do not change, as we get older, we are no less human and should not become invisible.”
While highlighting the priorities, Marie Terrence Johncare said the creation of a National Dementia Plan is important for elderly people living in the country. According to World Health Organisation, 50 million people live with Dementia around the globe.
Marie Terrence Johncare explained that Dementia is a condition that causes significant psychological burdens along with social and financial distress.
She added Elder abuse is an issue that the government should address. Elder abuse involves physical, mental, emotional and sexual harassment, theft and fraud by relatives, neighbours, sons, and daughters. It should be labelled as a heinous crime, and the perpetrator should be dealt with and punished as a criminal.
While telling about the members of the national advisory board, Marie Terrence Johncare listed herself as Chair of the board, Dr Leonora Drago; Director of Primary healthcare services, Missus Delia Giddon Steadman; Chief Welfare Officer, Cecillia Hamilton; Director of Yes We Care Programme, Janice Thomas; Director of Dominica Social Security, Cecil Clarke; Member of Board of Fax, Isal; retired District Education Officer, Veron Nicholas; President of Dominica Dementia Foundation, Clanis John Baptist; Director of Dominica Infirmary, Arianne McGlaw; physiotherapist, Dr Curtis Saint John; Medical Doctor, Nuelis Night DDA; lawyer, Monsignor Reginald Lafleur Ceric, Ashton Revere; President for Northern Homes for the aged, Vina Roye; Advocate for Cancer society, Priscilla Privo; Nutritionist, Melissa Morgan; Director of Gender Affairs.