Hiking, painting and an open house are among the activities ongoing during the 34th annual Senior Citizens Month, which kicked off Monday with a service at the Road Town Methodist Church.
Among other features, the Monday service included songs by students from St. George’s Primary School and speeches from government officials including Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley.
“We will continue to strive for our elders to age without feeling bound and limited,” Dr. Wheatley told attendees.
He was riffing on the theme for the month: “Ageing Unbound.”
Also among the speakers was newly appointed Health and Social Development Minister Vincent Wheatley, who urged the community to challenge ageism and stereotypes associated with seniors.
“This year, our emphasis is on promoting the concept of ageing in place, allowing seniors to comfortably and safely remain in their own homes as they grow older and live independently within their communities for as long as possible,” he said. “We acknowledge and understand that each individual’s preferred and necessary ageing environment is unique to their circumstances, and this is what we aim to emphasise.”
Mr. Wheatley also hinted at his own plans for his time in his new position.
“As your minister for health and social development, I pledge my commitment to improving access to high-quality health care and social services, including long-term care, with particular attention to the needs of remote communities, such as our sister islands,” he said.
The minister also promised that the Social Development Department will expand its senior engagement services in communities including Sea Cows Bay and Virgin Gorda. The government, he added, will work to provide accessible and affordable home modification services, including installing grab bars, ramps and stair lifts to ensure that homes are adapted to seniors’ needs.
“Additionally, we must work closely with community organisations to develop and expand services like meal delivery, transportation assistance, home health care, and assistance with daily living activities,” Mr. Wheatley said.
Also as part of the observance, a seniors’ hike was scheduled for yesterday in partnership with Hike BVI, and other activities are planned into June.
WANT TO GO?
Intergenerational day hosted by the East End/Long Look Senior Programme
Sip and Paint for seniors (location to be announced)
Intergenerational day hosted by the Carrot Bay Senior Programme
Open day at Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly
The Power of Music on the Brain, in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Alzheimer’s Association: 2-6 p.m., Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park