354 James Walter Francis Drive
RJT Edifice Building, 5th Floor
Road Town, TORTOLA VG1110
Tel: 284 468 2730
Fax: 284 468 2750
Fellow Virgin Islanders, residents, and friends:
Every May, since 1989, the Virgin Islands have embarked on a month-long celebration in recognition of our senior citizens. On this 34th anniversary, I am delighted to announce the commencement of Senior Citizens Month 2023. This year, we focus on the inspiring theme: "Ageing Unbound." This powerful message emphasises the resilience, vitality, and strength of our seniors, who continually strive to surpass the limitations traditionally associated with age.
The theme "Ageing Unbound" serves as a call to action, urging us to challenge stereotypes surrounding ageing and senior citizens, and acknowledge the tremendous potential of our seniors and their vast reservoir of knowledge, experience, and wisdom. This theme encourages everyone, regardless of age, to work towards creating a more inclusive and supportive environment that allows our seniors to thrive, contribute, and engage in meaningful ways.
This year, our emphasis is on promoting the concept of ageing in place, allowing seniors to comfortably and safely remain in their own homes as they grow older, and live independently within their communities for as long as possible. We acknowledge and understand that each individual's preferred and necessary ageing environment is unique to their circumstances, and this is what we aim to emphasise.
As your Minister for Health and Social Development, I pledge my commitment to improving access to high quality healthcare and social services, including long-term care, with particular attention to the needs of remote communities, such as our Sister Islands. Within the coming months, the Social Development Department will expand its senior engagement services in several communities, including Sea Cows Bay and Virgin Gorda. I wholeheartedly encourage seniors across the Territory to join in these activities, embracing the chance to connect with others, pursue your passions, and continue your journey of lifelong learning.
It is equally important for all sectors to work together to create a more age-friendly society, by implementing measures to enable seniors to maintain their independence. To achieve this, we must focus on providing accessible and affordable home modification services, such as installing grab bars, ramps, and stairlifts, to ensure that homes are safe and adapted to the evolving needs of our seniors. Additionally, we must work closely with community organisations to develop and expand services like meal delivery, transportation assistance, home health care, and assistance with daily living activities. By fostering a network of accessible and reliable resources, we can create a supportive environment that caters to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of our senior citizens, allowing them to age with dignity, grace, and a true sense of belonging in their communities.
Throughout this month, we will host a variety of events and activities aimed at empowering and supporting our senior citizens. These events, which range from social and physical activities to arts and entertainment, offer opportunities for personal growth, social interaction, and intellectual engagement. By participating in these events, you have the opportunity to form new friendships, create lasting memories, and share your invaluable experiences and wisdom with others.
I would also like to acknowledge and extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to caregivers, family members, and organisations who tirelessly devote their time and energy to supporting our senior citizens. Your unwavering dedication plays a critical role in ensuring that our seniors can live their golden years with dignity.
As we observe Senior Citizens Month 2023, let us recognize the unique strengths and abilities of our older generations and recommit ourselves to fostering a society that values and cherishes the wisdom and contributions of its elders. We can all learn from their wisdom, and it is our responsibility to guarantee that their voices are heard, respected, and included in the conversations that shape our future.
In closing, I once again encourage everyone to work together to create a more inclusive, empowering, and joyful environment for seniors, ensuring that we can all age unbound and truly flourish in every aspect of life at all ages.
May God continue to bless you, and these beautiful Virgin Islands.