Column: ‘Remembering & Revering Our Seniors’

January 19, 2022 | 2 Comments

Ianthia Simmons-Wade Bermuda Feb 2020[Opinion column written by PLP MP Ianthia Simmons-Wade]

It’s hard to believe that 2021 has finally come to an end. This has been a very challenging year for our people, especially our vulnerable seniors.

During the holidays, many families celebrated with their senior relatives and friends, providing delicious food, gifts and fellowship. But let’s not forget that our seniors need this connection not just in the holiday season, but also throughout the year. An unfortunate reality of this pandemic is that isolation and loneliness has plagued many of our elderly population.

While things are better than they were last year at this time, we are not yet out of the woods.

Rightfully so, our seniors are concerned about their future. They are concerned about their finances with the rising inflation in the United States resulting in a higher cost of living here in Bermuda.

Many are nervous about their safety, the increasing cost of health insurance and long-term care. They are really concerned about the highly contagious Omicron variant and possibly being admitted to the hospital. They are very concerned about aging well, their health and their lives.

This Government is aware of all of these concerns and anxieties. And we are committed to creating more stability and support for our seniors.

To this end, a National Seniors Strategy is being developed which will serve as the Government’s blueprint for the regulation, financing and delivery of programs and services for our seniors. It will address the challenges and opportunities to improve the health, social and financial landscape for our rapidly increasing aging population. By 2039, approximately 33% of our population will be over the age of 65.

In 2020, the Government created the Ministry of Social Development & Seniors with a focus to ensure that social policies and service, are in place and accessible to protect, assist, inform and empower the most vulnerable within our community.

As the Chair of the Ageing Well Committee, we continue to focus on the goal of Bermuda to become “age friendly” and for our ageing population to be considered when policies are developed.

As such, we have implemented a program to help our seniors with home repairs and upgrades to assist with aging in place and being able to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

We ushered in FutureCare to make healthcare more affordable which now has increased prescription allowance by 50%. Personal care allowances are provided to assist with the cost of care for seniors that want to remain at home or with their family. We have also reduced the cost of certain prescription medications.

There are various financial assistance programmes for seniors who qualify which includes rent and long-term care. There are also health and wellness clinics specifically designed for seniors.

Additionally, this Government provides financial support to private seniors organizations, clubs and programs. Further, we are actively working on developing the Bermuda Health Plan that will ensure access to affordable universal Healthcare for all.

Our goal is to ensure that our senior Bermudians remain productive, engaged, fulfilled and independent citizens for as long as possible. Throughout the year, we all must honour and revere the seniors in your life. Spend quality time with them.. Call them… Listen to them…Support them…Show your love.

These are very difficult times for some of our seniors and their families and many are struggling. we encourage you to reach out to your MP and also contact the government and third sector support services and programs. We will continue to be out in the community checking in on you.

There is light at the end of this pandemic, however, during this journey we must shine some light by remembering and revering our seniors.

- MP Ianthia Simmons-Wade

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Comments (2)

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  1. comfortably numb says:

    Strange how Ms Wade makes no mention of the PLP’S disastrous handling of the economy over the past twenty years and how it has pushed many seniors to the verge of bankruptcy?

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