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Older persons issues

Workshop Min Tibbettstackles issues older persons face in Cayman Islands

Approximately 90 persons attended a workshop focused on social, economic and healthcare issues affecting older persons in the community on Friday, 1 July 2016.
The event offered members of the public, their advocates and other community members an opportunity to have a say on these topics in relation to the upcoming National Older Persons Policy.
Chair of the National Older Person’s Policy Steering Committee that is developing the policy, Mrs. Debbie Webb-Sibblies, and committee members organised the half day meeting at the Family Life Centre.
Their objective was to seek public input towards the development of a policy which aims to protect the lifestyle and human rights of older persons living in the Cayman Islands.
Debbie SibbliesAttendees included representatives from stakeholder organisations such as the Ministry of Community Affairs, the Department of Children and Family Services, Public Transport Unit, Needs Assessment Unit, CINICO, Health Services Authority and the University College of the Cayman Islands. Other participants included representatives from Rotary and Lions Clubs, Meals on Wheels, Hospice Care, several churches, the Chamber of Commerce, as well as from both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
Proceedings got underway with a short skit that touched on some of the concerns that affect older persons, including the limited use of public transport, government benefits, access to healthcare and insurance, and responsibility of family members towards older persons.
After this, Minister of Planning, Hon. Kurt Tibbetts, on behalf of Minister of Community Affairs Hon. Osbourne Bodden, opened the workshop and outlined that the Cayman Islands Government’s 2015/2016 Strategic Policy Statement called for the steering committee’s creation. It also mandated the identification of legislation and resources to protect the rights of older persons and address their needs. He outlined the five key points on which tCOC Prezhe policy will focus to improve the welfare and quality of life of older persons: participation, independence, self-fulfillment, care and dignity.
SkitPresident of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Paul Pearson, reinforced this message in his own speech, adding that, “Together we can all help shape and develop this policy.”
Stakeholders then broke into smaller groups to discuss concerns and solutions surrounding the given topics.
Issues ranged from older persons’ ability to live independently and with dignity to the surprising lack of resources available to meet basic needs such as clean water in some districts.
Olive Miller Maureen Jervis BrooksresSolutions put forward included: Legislation to protect and care for the elderly; a National Commission to regulate polices for the elderly, recreational and social centres; allocated transport for older persons; a National Health Insurance Retirement policy; assisted living facilities; technology workshops; and better information to the public of services already available for older persons such as free classes at the university and shopping benefits.
The day ended with short presentations in which participants highlighted several services which are currently available to older persons as well as challenges which exist and areas which need improvement and further development.
It was at this point that a member of the public perfectly summed up the sentiment underlying much of the event, with the closing statement, “I may be getting up in age but I am not obsolete!”
A report summarising the feedback will also be available to the public shortly.

Editor’s Note: Economy Car Rental sponsored travel for participants from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Photo captions: Photos by Japhia Augustine, GIS
1. Senior citizen Mrs. Olive Miller, with Ms Maureen Jervis-Brooks of CAYS, participates in the workshop at the Family Life Centre on Friday, 1 July 2016, to help develop policy to address older persons’ issues.
2. Minister Hon. Kurt Tibbetts opened the workshop.
3. Chamber of Commerce President Mr. Paul Pearson speaks.
4. Steering Committee Chairperson Mrs. Debbie Webb-Sibblies helped organise the half-day workshop.
5. Ms Vanda Powery (left) and Ms Dorleen Welcome from DCFS perform a skit.


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