Castries, Saint Lucia: The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs are in the midst of policy design aimed at caring for Saint Lucia’s ageing population. Dr. Xysta Edmund of Xya Consulting is tasked with the composition of such a policy.
“The changes that have happened with regard to the new policy came about as a result of lessons learned and two of the main lessons learned were this. Firstly, there is need to put the elderly first and ensure that we are building and strengthening communities that will care for older persons. Secondly, there is a need to focus on ageing as a process. From the time we are born we are ageing and therefore plans have to be made and systems have to be in place to care for older persons.”
Dr. Edmund explained that many members of the elderly community find difficulty in procuring affordable housing and families often struggle financially when charged with caring for their elders. Thus, housing will be priority for the policy redesign.
The new policy development encourages stakeholder engagement.
“All persons who work with older persons and our NGO partners joined us in this discussion. We also invited the persons who are involved in the home caregivers program and managers of senior living facilities in Saint Lucia. Their contributions have been phenomenal.”
An ageing population is one that is defined as having 7 percent of its population above the age of 65. Currently, Saint Lucia’s ageing population is at 9.5 percent.