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Islanders need to learn to ‘age successfully’

Resource type: News

The Royal Gazette | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

By Jonathan Bell

Bermudians need to educate themselves on how to “age successfully”, a seniors advocate has warned.

“What we really need is a plan for how to educate people of all ages,” Age Concern executive director Claudette Fleming told Hamilton Rotary Club this week.

“There are more than 100 care service providers in Bermuda, but they are fragmented and segmented.”

She described an industry with abundant resources but “a lack of integrating services”.

“I’ve been with Age Concern for 11 years and I’ve been in the industry for longer,” she said. “I have never seen the buck passed so many times. We’ve never really had a leader for this industry, and we’ve never really enjoyed any consistency.”

As Government develops a national ageing strategy for Bermuda, Age Concern has worked on its own advocacy campaign to influence policy, she said.

The charity works to link seniors with helpful services, and addresses the needs of anyone above the age of 50.

“It will come as no surprise to anyone to hear that in Bermuda our older adult population is increasing,” she said. “Our birth rates are declining, our life expectancy is increasing, family structures are changing, and people are retiring earlier at least before the economic crisis.”

Since the summer of 2010, the charity has been heavily involved in research, with part of its campaign modelled on similar campaigns in Ireland.

Ms Fleming said: “Our next task is to get out to the public with our five areas of focus, and starting drilling it into people to prepare.”

These focal points are financial security, the integration of services, healthcare and disease prevention, advocacy, and planning and accountability.

With the analysis phase complete, Ms Fleming said: “Age Concern is entering phase two of its advocacy plan informing and educating the people of Bermuda about what will be required of them to age successfully.”

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Age Concern (Bermuda) is an Atlantic grantee.

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