Ageing Unit
DHWFD Hosts Elderly Symposium on Ageing, Elder Abuse and Rights of the Elderly

Some of the elderly attendees at the Conference.

On Thursday 24th October, 2019 senior citizens, caregivers, ageing specialists, healthcare professionals and academic researchers gathered at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort for the Elderly Symposium of the 4th Caribbean Conference. This Symposium was held by the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development in collaboration with the International Federation of Associations of the Elderly (FIAPA) and the Tobago Association of the Elderly under the theme “Ageing, Elder Abuse and the Rights of the Elderly”.

 
Rockly Vale Senior Citizens Activity Centre Re-commissioned

Completing the Re-Commissioning. Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington (2nd from left) and Mr. Rudolph Hypolite (c) cut the ribbon with other members of TATE signalling the formal re-commissioning of the Rockly Vale Senior Citizens Activity Centre.

“Ensure to come to the centre for your home gardening, cooking, dancing, aqua therapy and intergenerational activities.” These were the words of encouragement by Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, which were directed towards the elderly persons in attendance at the re-commissioning ceremony for the Rockly Vale Senior Citizens Activity Centre. The ceremony was held at the Centre on Thursday, 29th August, 2019 by the Division in collaboration with the Tobago Association of the Elderly (TATE).

 
TATE Executive Appointed and Tobago to host 4th Caribbean Conference for Elderly Persons

Members of TATE pose for photos with the dignitaries. (From left) Reah Barton, Horace Barton, Assemblyman Ancil Dennis, Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Mrs. Dianne Baker-Henry, Rudolph Hypolite, Carmen Charles, Suzette Woods-James, Miriam Edwards and Lecia Ross.
Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development has announced that Tobago would be hosting the 4th Caribbean Conference for Elderly people to be held on 23-24 October, 2019 (at the Magdalena Grand Hotel.) This was one of the major announcements by the Secretary at the Appointment Ceremony of the Tobago Association for the Elderly (TATE) at the Division’s Head Office on Tuesday 9th April, 2019.

 
Dr. Carrington presents at 28th Gerontology Congress in Martinique

Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development (right) seated at the head table at the 28th Gerontology Congress in Martinique.

Councillor Dr. Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development journeyed to Martinique to participate in the 28th Gerontology AMDOR Congress in Martinique from 4th - 5th October, 2018, which targeted senior citizens from all over the Caribbean region. The theme for the congress is "The Family Care System for the Elderly and Disabled Adults: Perspectives for Action.” Activities at the Congress included various presentations on the topic, exercise sessions and socialization opportunities.

Dr. Carrington presented information on the care and support provided for elderly persons in Tobago. Members of the Tobago Association of the Elderly accompanied Dr. Carrington to attend and participate in the Congress.

AMDOR is a non-governmental organization, which was created in 1986 with the aim to contribute to the development of ideas and practices in the field of gerontology through consulting, research, information and execution of activities. In addition, it aims to cater for the overall well-being of retirees and the elderly to prevent the bad effects of ageing, isolation and exclusion.

The Tobago Association of the Elderly (TATE) was established in May 2018, which is an amalgamation of elderly organizations throughout Tobago and representatives from the Division and Facilities Review Committee. The Association was established to be a part of the process of shaping the framework for the delivery of services for the elderly and ageing in Tobago, to positively impact their lives.

 
Senior Citizens' Debate 2018

Participants of the Senior Citizens Debate pose for a photo

The Ageing Unit of the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development in collaboration with the Assembly Legislature hosted the second Senior Citizens’ Debate under the theme, “Tobago’s Development: Preserving the Elderly’s Meaningful Contribution” at the Assembly Legislature on Wednesday, 28th March, 2018. The debate adopted the same parliamentary style of debating as what transpires currently in the house, with an incumbent and opposition.

The debate provided an opportunity for our senior citizens to voice their concerns about the things that affect them in Tobago and to give suggestions on the necessary policy decisions that should be taken to treat with those concerns. Additionally, it was a means of fostering active and intellectual ageing through the medium of debating. After this debate, the participants and other senior citizens on the Island will form an Association of elderly persons, to continue to advocate for the necessary action to be taken to treat with their concerns.

 
Tobago Association of Elderly Persons to be Established

“We have had consensus, whereby a Tobago Association of Elderly Persons will be formed to be affiliated to FIAPA, an association of professionals will be formed to be affiliated to FIAPA and a conference on Elder Abuse will be planned for later this year.” These were the declarations made by Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development at the end of a meeting convened with elderly stakeholders on the Island and representatives from both AMDOR Martinique and the International Federation of Associations of the Elderly (FIAPA). The meeting was held at the Division’s Conference Room on 16th February, 2018.

The Secretary said since the Division has reshaped its focus to family, the elderly is an integral part of the family that needs attention. She said “our elderly population in Tobago is increasing…the data shows that there are over 8000 persons who are 60 years of age and older…therefore we have a responsibility to cater to their needs.” Dr. Carrington further explained that the Division looks forward to the commitment of elderly persons to be a part of the process of shaping the framework for the delivery of services to positively impact their lives. She said “the impact of this Association will be heavily dependent on the input of you our stakeholders; the Division is just here to enable and support.”

Mr. Frantz Remy, Director of AMDOR Martinique and Latin America and Caribbean representative from FIAPA shared the interventions made by AMDOR and FIAPA, to improve the quality of life of the elderly, and the opportunities available to local association. Mr. Remy explained “training is paramount so we have training available for caregivers who take care of the elderly and training for professionals such as psychologists, nurses and social workers…a major area of focus in our training is how to deal with elderly persons who are being abused, whether physical, financial or other.” Mr. Remy added that they also help elderly persons to prepare for retirement by hosting several pre-retirement workshops. Mr. Remy shared “we work along with all people dealing with the elderly, including the Government, to ensure the elderly get equal services and support just like any other persons.”

The stakeholders also had the opportunity to share some issues the elderly experience, which needs some intervention. Ms. Eudeen Joefield, representative from the Mary’s Hill Senior Citizen Centre shared “we need to find a way to protect our elderly from abuse, especially financial abuse by family members…we also need to protect the elderly from the loud music the young people play; we just cannot tolerate it so loudly!” Ms. Lica Ross of the Tobago Elders Committee – All Fours Group said “we need to support our elderly more with recreation and take them out their homes”. Mrs. Sharon Benjamin who formed the Charlotteville Senior Citizen Appreciation Group with her husband expressed “when dealing with the elderly, we need to forget about monies and just take care of them with love!” Mrs. Benjamin strongly conveyed “once love is reinstituted into the hearts of persons taking care of the elderly, we will see an improvement in the delivery of service to them.”

At the end of the meeting, a planning committee for the Conference on Elder Abuse was formed comprising one stakeholder of each group present at the meeting, one member from the Facilities Review Committee (Homes for Older Persons) and members of staff at the Division’s Family Development Department. At the meeting, there were representatives from the following organizations: Canaan / Bon Accord Senior Activity Centre, Charlotteville Senior Citizen Appreciation Group, Fire Services Retirees Association, Mary’s Hill Senior Citizen’s Activity Centre, Nicare Home for the Aged, Night Nurse Elderly Activity Centre, Pembroke Cultural All-stars, Rockly Vale Senior Citizens Activity centre, St. Vincent Home for the Aged and Tobago Elders Committee – All Fours Group.

The aim of the International Federation of Associations of the Elderly (FIAPA) is to mobilize the elderly and their associations in order to enhance their integration in the life of society. It also advocates for elders and seniors in major international organizations such as the UN, WHO, UNESCO, Council of Europe, and the European Union. AMDOR was created in 1986 with the aim to contribute to the development of ideas and practices in the field of gerontology through consulting, research, information and execution of activities. In addition, it aims to cater for the overall well-being of retirees and the elderly to prevent the bad effects of ageing, isolation and exclusion.

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Caregiver's Skills & Capacity Training

Secretary Dr. Agatha Carrington addressing participants at the training


The provision of adequate training to our caregivers will improve the level of care we provide to our senior citizens on the Island. Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development conveyed this when she addressed caregivers at the opening ceremony of the Skills Training and Capacity Building Programme on Thursday, 10th August, 2017 at the Lowlands Multipurpose Facility.

Dr. Carrington shared that challenges faced by caregivers under the Golden Apple Partnership Programme (GAPP) generated a need for an evaluation of the programme. She said the evaluation revealed various issues including “a lack of appropriate care for the elderly and disabled, lack of certification for our caregivers, an absence of standard operating procedures and an absence of a clear dress code for caregivers.”

She added, “The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report for 2016 indicated that the life expectancy in our country continues to increase from 68.5 in 2000 to 70.5 in 2015.” Dr. Carrington explained that the issues revealed from the evaluation and the continued growth in the elderly population justified the need for this training programme.

Dr Carrington said, “The Division has engaged the expert services of Mrs. Vidya Dhanasarsingh, Registered Mental Health Nurse and Mental Health Officer at the North West Regional Health Authority, Mrs. Elizabeth Powder, a current nurse educator in gerontology at the University of Trinidad and Tobago and Ms. Jennifer Frederick, a current senior nurse at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Dr. Carrington said “this training is quite comprehensive and will definitely raise the bar nationally and probably regionally, for the quality of service we will offer to our senior citizens upon your graduation.” She concluded by encouraging the caregivers to fully participate in the sessions, take in as much information and excel at their practicum assignments.

Ms. Linda Jack, Manager of the Ageing Unit also spoke at the event. She reiterated the need for this training and commended the Secretary for supporting this initiative. Ms. Jack said “this training is long overdue and we look forward to all that the trainers have in store for our caregivers.”

The Skills Training and Capacity Building Programme will be conducted for caregivers employed under the GAPP Programme of the Ageing Unit, Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development. It will be conducted for six weeks and at the end of the programme, the participants will receive certification in the areas of focus. Areas of focus include: understanding self and others, ethics and confidentiality, roles and responsibilities of caregivers, anatomy and physiology, patient care, housekeeping, communication, death and dying and report writing. Participants will also be expected to complete a practicum by the end of the training.

 
International Day of Older Persons 2015!

Patrons danced to the live entertainment by the Golden Apple Band

International Day of Older Persons is celebrated annually on October 1st by many organisations throughout the world. This year, the Division of Health and Social Services, through the Ageing Unit, celebrated the event at the Guld City Mall, Lowlands with an appreciation service under the theme: 'Sustainability and Age Inclusiveness in the Urban Environment.'

 
Grandchildren's Day at Bon Accord Senior Activity Centre

Members of the activity centre pose for a photo with their grandchildren


The Bon Accord Senior Citizen Activity Centre recently held its Grandchildren's Day. It was a day for the members of the activity centre and the their grandchildren to engage in activities together and even share stories from then and now.

Present at the Grandchildren's Day was Assistant Secretary of the Division of Health and Social Services Assemblyman Sheldon Cunningham and area representative and Secretary of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport Assemblyman Huey Cadette.

The youth and the seniors spent the day in each others company learning, sharing and working with each other. The Division of Health and Social Services congratulates the Bon Accord Senior Activity Centre for this initiative and we hope to continue to work together, not just for the seniors, but for the advancement for all in Tobago.

 
Ageing Unit's Mothers and Fathers Luncheon 2015

A collage of some of the elderly at the luncheon

The Ageing Unit, under the Division of Health and Social Services, held its annual Mothers and Fathers luncheon to honour the elderly mothers and fathers attached to the various Senior Citizen Activity Centres on Friday 26th June, 2015 at the John Dial Community Centre.

 
Ageing Unit's Mothers and Fathers Luncheon

Assemblyman Sheldon Cunningham, Ms. Lennis Scipio, Ms. Linda Jack with elders at the luncheon
The Ageing Unit, under the Department of Social Services, of the  Division of Health and Social Services, hosted a Mothers and Fathers Luncheon at Ghany Building, Scarborough on Friday 27th June, 2014. This event was held in commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day which was observed internationally on 15th June, 2014.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) brings together senior citizens, caregivers and all persons who are willing to combat the problems that affect the elderly. It also aims to focus global attention on th eproblem of physical, emotional and financial abuse of elders.

Persons from the various activity centres, from the Charlotteville Senior Citizen Appreciation Group to the Canaan/ Bon Accord Senior Citizen Activity Centre to the Mary's Hill Senior Citizens Activity Centre, and even the persons from the TTUTA Retirees, Tobago were in attendance.

Secretary of Health and Social Services, Assemblyman Claudia Groome-Duke, paid homage to the seniors in Tobago and noted that their knowledge and principles needed to be passed down to the younger generation and she thanked them for their invaluble contributions. 

 
Appreciating Our Elderly

Assistant Secretary Sheldon Cunningham with one of the honoured guests.On October 1st, 2013, the Division of Health and Social Services, through the Ageing Unit, celebrated International Day of Older Persons with an appreciation ceremony held at Ghany Building, Scarborough, to honor the contributions made by our older persons in shaping the Tobago society.

The theme for this year's celebration - "The Future We Want: What Older Persons are Saying" - was aimed at drawing attention to the efforts of older persons who continue to make major contributions to society through volunteer work, transmitting experiences and knowledge, helping their families with caring responsibilities and participating in the paid labour force.

The appreciation ceremony was attended by members of the six (6) Senior Activity Centres across the land, Caregivers, as well as other interest groups who help to encourage and advocate for healthy and active lifestyles for senior citizens.

For further information on the DHSS Ageing Unit, please click on the Ageing link.

 
WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY WALKATHON

WEAAD001On June 15 every year, the world celebrates World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

For this year’s celebration, the Department of Ageing of the Ministry of the People and Social Development, joined hands with the Ageing Unit of the Division of Health and Social Services and Gender Affairs, to host a walkathon in Scarborough to mark this international observance.

Over 400 hundred persons came out for the walkathon on June 28, to take their stance against Elder Abuse.

WEAAD003   WEAAD002

The Walkathon started at the Market Square and ended at the Milford Road Esplanade, where a very entertaining cultural show as held. Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development the Honorable Vernella Alleyne-Toppin was in attendance and brought brief remarks. Also, Director of Ageing, Dr. Jennifer Rouse, also brought remarks with Assistant Secretary in the Division of Health and Social Services Sheldon Cunningham delivering the feature address.


WEAAD005    WEAAD006   WEAAD007

The elders participated in the show as well, presenting pieces of song, music and drama.

Free blood pressure and blood glucose testing were also provided.

The elders were well entertained and enjoyed the celebration.

 
DHSS hosts Elderly Parents to Entertainment and Lunch

Assemblyman Claudia Groome-Duke meets with the Senior CitizensA joint celebration of a luncheon for the observation of 2012 Mother's Day and Father's Day was organized by the Ageing Unit, Division of Health and Social Services on Friday 15th June, 2012 at the 'Katenjammers Pan Theatre', Black Rock. Over 100 elderly clients from the Senior Activity Centres at Bon Accord, at Rockley Vale and the new centre in Roxborough district attended. Assemblyman Claudia Groome-Duke w ho arrived after attending another appointment, met,, greeted and lunched with the senior citizens.


Mr. Michael Stewart, Communications Consultant, Division of Health and Social Services and a highly regarded Motivational Speaker stated that it was a joy to be able to interact with the good people who built this island called Tobago. He also noted that the elderly had an advantage of experience over the youth and that no book could give someone the experience that they possessed. "With each passing year" told the parents, "you have the advantage of putting all your accumulated years into your next year to make it better. The older you are the more years of experience you can draw upon to improve the succeeding year" Mr. Stewart also commented on how good these elderly clients were looking, in that they were well put together in their best "Dan Dans", with smiles on their faces and strong voices and hoped they lived many more years.


The Director Social Services, Mrs. Sherma Frank-Joseph, shared with the audience that the elderly population was increasing at both absolute and relative rates and this situation requires special attention and even more moving forward into future. It is for this reason she noted that the Division of Health and Social Services has built additional Health Centers and continues to assist with benefit services as Pension Grants, Bus card for free public transport and Food Card.


She acknowledged that the provision of financial care is only one aspect and that the Aged Activity centers can foster social and skilled activities as well as exercise for the clients. She encouraged all those present to spread the word to Tobagonians that the elderly can still live productive and happy social lives and should register at the aged activity centre closest to them.
The Division of Health and Social Services, Ageing Unit can be contacted at 660-7871 /639-2673/639-1512.

A cross-section of the audienceMrs. Sherma Frank-Joseph distributes gift to a Senior Citizen

 
Thanksgiving Service for the International Day of Older Persons

The elderly at the eventOn Friday 7th of October, in recognition of the International Day of Older Persons, the Ageing Unit, Division of Health and Social Services, hosted a Thanksgiving Church Service at the Scarborough Methodist Church. The event was managed by Ms. Grace Dennis, the Co-ordinator at the Aging Unit and carried the theme "The growing Opportunities & Challenges of Global Aging".

 
“Bridging the Generation Gap” in Lambeau

On Sunday July 3rd, Senior Citizens of Lambeau were celebrated by their village council at their new, modern village facility. The concept of the event was “Bridging the Gap”, the purpose to reduce the generation gap between the older villagers and younger ones by social interaction, oral tradition and cultural performances.

 
THA makes a donation of materials to the ‘NiCare Home for the Elderly'

Material DropoffResidents of the NiCare Home for the Elderly would soon enjoy more comfort in the home after the Division of Health and Social Services made a donation of building materials.