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Elderly Persons
Paragraphs Related to the Theme Paragraphs VII Summit

- Antigua and Barbuda - Argentina - Bahamas - Barbados - Belize - Bolivia - Brazil - Canada - Chile - Colombia - Costa Rica - Dominica - Dominican Republic - Ecuador - El Salvador - Grenada - Guatemala - Guyana - Haiti - Honduras - Jamaica - Mexico - Nicaragua - Panama - Paraguay - Peru - Saint Kitts and Nevis - Saint Lucia - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - Suriname - Trinidad and Tobago - United States - Uruguay - Venezuela -
Date:  12/18/2015 
Barbados has a population of 280,000 people and the highest percentage of persons aged 65 and over within the English Speaking Caribbean. According to the Barbados Statistical Service, the percentage of the population over 65 in 2010 was 11.3% and the projected population of older persons over 65 in the year 2025 will be 18%. Hence there is a need to develop, implement and strengthen active and healthy ageing policies and programmes which would allow older persons to remain in good health and “maintain their many vital contributions to the well-being of their families, communities and societies”.
The National Policy on Ageing for Barbados was approved in Parliament in June 2013. The policy is grounded in a philosophy “that embraces the principles of opportunity, equal access, inclusion and active ageing”. The Policy is guided by the International Principles emanating from a number of conventions, especially the Madrid Political Declaration and International Plan of Action adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing by the United Nations in 2002. In the Madrid Political Declaration and International Plan of Action, the three priority areas of consideration are: Older Persons and Development; Advancing Health and Well Being; and Ensuring Enabling and Supportive Environments.
The Barbados National Policy on Ageing has as its priority directions: Financial and Economic Security for Older Persons, Health, Mental Health and Health Care, The Physical and Built Environment, the Social Environment, Legislation, Research and Institutional Arrangements.
The National Policy also outlines urgent, short, medium and long term recommendations and the agencies and stakeholders that are slated to address these priority areas. In May 2014, the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development established a Committee with its relevant stakeholders to monitor the National Policy on Ageing and to advise the Government on relevant matters relating to this policy. The Committee is also responsible for formulating a Plan of Action to implement the urgent, short, medium and long term recommendations of this policy.
Inherent in this responsibility, is the Committee’s role of examining the status of older persons in Barbados, with the view to removing, in a phased series of actions over the next ten years, existing barriers in critical areas that may hinder the full participation of older persons in mainstream society.
Policy Initiatives
The following policy initiatives provide for and protect the Rights of the Elderly:
National Assistance Board
The National Assistance Board provides a range of programmes for the enhancement of well-being and the empowerment of the growing elderly population. Among some of the programmes provided are the Home Care Programme and the Seniors’ Recreational Activities Programme. The Home Care Programme is a non-paying service that ensures the elderly are assisted with daily living skills such as cooking, washing, cleaning, grooming and shopping. Participation in social activities and the promotion of active ageing is met through the Seniors’ Recreational Activities Programme which offers opportunities for elderly citizens to engage in arts and crafts, exercise, travel, picnics and other social activities.
Alzheimer’s Disease
In the area of health, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of Dementia that affects many older persons in Barbados and across the world, and there is still no cure. In Barbados, with the current ageing of the population, the number of persons with Alzheimer’s is rapidly increasing along with its impact on society. The Barbados Alzheimer’s Association, National Assistance Board and the National Committee on Ageing continue to collaborate and sponsor relevant seminars and activities in an effort to raise public awareness of the disease.
HIV and the Elderly
Worldwide to date, there has been very little written about the impact of HIV on the older adult population. However, a more recent examination of this issue has revealed that older persons are increasingly affected by HIV, either directly on a personal level, and a much larger number are affected indirectly, through knowledge of, and interaction with family or loved ones.
The Government of Barbados is dedicated to giving the highest priority to addressing the issues of HIV. The raising of public awareness is done through conducting seminars and workshops geared at disseminating information, minimizing at-risk behaviour through the changing of attitudes and practices.
In September 2013, during Senior Citizens’ month, The Barbados Senior HIV Drama Group launched a production entitled, “Take Warning: Granny’s Say on HIV and Sex”. This drama group is made up of cast members, ages 50-92 who take the message of the impact of HIV and the Elderly across Barbados.
Elder Abuse
The Government of Barbados has joined the international response by observing June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.
Research has shown that elder abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation are issues facing older persons around the world. World Health Organization data suggests that 4 to 6 % of older persons suffer from some form of abuse, however a large percentage goes unreported. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, it is believed that for every case reported, twenty three (23) cases go unreported.
In Barbados, a draft Elder Abuse Protocol is in place to sensitize the public to the issue of elder abuse and conditions which are conducive to this phenomenon. Currently, a Committee made up of relevant stakeholders is developing a plan of action for this Protocol.
Since 2002, the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development and the National Assistance Board have been active participants in the following intergovernmental conferences:
- Second Regional Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing in Latin America and the Caribbean, December 2007 in Brasilia, Brazil;
- Economic Commission for Latin America follow-up meeting of the Brasilia Declaration, “For the Rights of Older Persons”, October, 2009 in Santiago, Chile;
- Third Regional Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing in Latin America and the
Caribbean, May, 2012 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The Government of Barbados will make every effort to participate fully in the strategic review process under the Madrid Political Declaration and International Plan of Action Adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing by the United Nations in 2002 and attend meetings, conference and work groups related to this plan.
Despite the many contributions in society that older persons have made, there still exists discrimination, abuse, violence and marginalization. All relevant stakeholders in Barbados will need to continue to work together to respond to the challenges facing older persons in our society. The Government of Barbados is committed to playing a role in addressing these challenges in a comprehensive and collaborative manner for the benefits of all older persons in Barbados and by extension, all Barbadians.
Paragraphs: 11 Paragraphs VII Summit: -

Date:  6/21/2011 
White Paper on Ageing

Barbados has an ageing population. At present Older Persons, those 65 years and over, comprise 13% of the population. As this trend continues, Barbados will be increasingly challenged to provide services for this special public. To this end a National Policy on Ageing is being formulated. As a Green Paper, the Policy was widely circulated and feedback sought. It is now at the stage of a White Paper and is being finalised to be laid in Parliament.

The White Paper will guide all policy initiatives pertaining to Older Persons including Social Protection, Social and Economic Security, Supportive Physical Environments, Older Persons Rights, including Protective Legislation and Health Care. The Paper is also recommending the establishment of an Agency to focus exclusively on Elder Affairs.
Paragraphs: 41 Paragraphs VII Summit: -

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