Dept. of Social Services on Nevis gets approval for resumption of senior citizens programme

Older persons on Nevis modelling at a Seniors Pageant hosted by the Seniors Division in the Ministry of Social Development (file photo)
Older persons on Nevis modelling at a Seniors Pageant hosted by the Seniors Division in the Ministry of Social Development (file photo)

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (September 15, 2020) — Mrs. Sandra Morton, Director of the Department of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Development on Nevis, says they have received the green light from the Compliance Task Force, an arm of the Nevis COVID-19 Task Force, to resume the seniors programme.

Mrs. Sandra Morton, Director of the Department of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Development on Nevis (file photo)
Mrs. Sandra Morton, Director of the Department of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Development on Nevis (file photo)

The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) in early March, was forced to suspend the social programme designed for seniors amidst concerns for their health and safety, as they were being widely publicised as a high risk group for contracting COVID-19. As a result, all activities of seniors recreational groups across the island were discontinued.

“The Nevis COVID-19 Task Force recently approved a proposal for the resumption of groups under new and strict guidelines ranging from safety procedures for the transporting of the seniors, and the community centres, which are the main meeting places, to placing a limit on the number of individuals who can meet.

“The activities are also being carefully re-tailored to meet social distancing guidelines while still providing seniors with a much-needed outlet for socialising,” Mrs. Morton told the Department of Information.

Older persons on Nevis marching through Charlestown in observance of International Month of Older Persons hosted by the Social Services Department in the Ministry of Social Development (file photo)
Older persons on Nevis marching through Charlestown in observance of International Month of Older Persons hosted by the Social Services Department in the Ministry of Social Development (file photo)

During the suspension of the seniors programme, the Seniors Citizens Division which falls under the jurisdiction of the ministry, engaged with seniors who participated regularly in the recreational programmes and treated them to a mobile visit and Soup Day on July 28 and 31.

“Staff and care-givers organised a mobile soup drive to deliver to all the groups’ participants, taking time to lift their morale and offer much needed interaction, while observing COVID-19 protocols. The feedback from the seniors was a delight as many had not seen programme organisers for months,” Mrs. Morton said.

The Social Services Director noted that since re-opening after the  government’s  lock-down, the department has received inquiries regarding the programmes offered for seniors on Nevis.

“Seniors have been persistently inquiring about coming out to the programmes which benefit the older persons in the areas of socialising, steel pan  playing; engaging in intergenerational exchanges with primary school students across the island.

“The organized seniors groups provide an avenue for educational sessions such as computer classes and awareness sessions on health and other issues which they face. Care-takers of these seniors also benefit knowing that their loved ones are out and engaged rather than alone and lonely during the day,” she said.

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