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Aug 30, 2005

Council on Ageing seeks strength in a youthful society

Story PictureIt is estimated that seven percent of Belize’s population–around nineteen thousand people–are sixty years and older. Just how these most experienced citizens have been faring in a country where the majority of residents are below eighteen has been the primary focus for the National Council on Ageing. News Five’s Jacqueline Woods has more.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
The problems vary, but the issues that led to the launch of the first National Policy for Older Persons three years ago have not gone away.

Ethel Ellis, 75 Years Old
“The youths, some of them do not recognise and respect the older people. That is one of the reasons we should go back to our system one of our education likes say to teach them to respect their parents and their grandparents and give those poems that were favourable to helping the old lady across the street, helping the old man across the street.”

Francisco Rash, 74 Years Old
“Right now I cannot work, my eyes I can’t see so good, scarcely I walk, can?t use the road, but I need something to eat and still I need something for my life because I am still alive, you see… but it is very hard for me to get it.”

The National Council on Ageing says its goal is to improve the quality of life of older persons. How will this be achieved? The plan of action outlines eleven priority areas of concern.

Lindy Jeffery, Secretary, N.C.A.
“Which is their health, their income security, the need for facilities for them, for there being legislation that actually protects older persons in this country. They don’t have any protection at the moment, so that’s one of the areas that we are looking at as well, the need for respect.”

Just how many of these issues are being addressed is a question the N.C.A. and other interested parties tried to answer at a one-day forum held today at the Radisson.

Lindy Jeffery
“I need to call upon our partners in this and our stakeholders to join and collaborate a lot more. If we’re having events, maybe they can help to move forward and make the necessary changes for older persons. And that’s what we’re seeking, the ways in which we can keep looking at making the changes for older persons so that they are better catered for.”

Jacqueline Woods for News Five.

The Policy in Action Forum on Ageing was a joint initiative of the National Council on Ageing and the United Nations Population Fund.

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