Social Care Minister, Steve Blackett, wants Barbadians to pursue active lifestyles in order to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases in their senior years.
Blackett told a service at the All Souls Anglican Church to celebrate the National Assistance Board’s (NAB’s) 35th anniversary, that it is necessary that the country’s elderly population is healthy.
“I wish to emphasise that the average life-expectancy in Barbados is 77 years, and this country has been reported as the first in the Caribbean with more than 10 per cent of its population being classified as elderly.
“Understand that with the increase in life expectancy, it is important to have a population which is active and healthy. A failure to ensure this will certainly have implications for the sustainability of the country’s health, economic and social programmes,” he said.
Blackett also pointed to local statistics on chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer, noting that the NAB and other stakeholders have been encouraged to make sure as much as possible that our older adults age gracefully.
This, he said, was “in light of projections that by the year 2050 more than 20 per cent of the world’s population will be 60 years and older. And the increase in older persons will be the greatest and most rapid in developing countries like Barbados”.