Older persons on Nevis marching through Charlestown in observance of International Month of Older Persons hosted by the Social Services Department in the Ministry of Social Development.

CHARLESTOWN Nevis -– Senior citizen’s recreational programmes have been given the green light to resume recreational activities from the Compliance Task Force, an arm of the Nevis COVID-19 Task Force, according to Mrs. Sandra Morton, Director of the Department of Social Services in the Nevis Ministry of Social Development.

Mrs. Sandra Morton, Director of the Department of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Development on Nevis.

In early March, the Nevis Island Administration suspended the social programme designed for seniors amidst concerns for their health and safety. They were being widely publicised as a high risk group for contracting COVID-19. As a result, all activities of senior’s recreational groups were discontinued across the island.

“The Nevis COVID-19 Task Force recently approved a proposal for the resumption of groups under new and strict guidelines,” said Mrs. Morton. “They ranged from safety procedures for the transporting of seniors and community centres, which are the main meeting places; to placing a limit on the number of individuals who can meet.

“The activities are being carefully re-tailored to meet social distancing guidelines while still providing seniors with a much-needed outlet for socialising,” said Mrs. Morton.

During the suspension of the seniors programme, the Seniors Citizens Division which falls under the jurisdiction of the ministry, engaged with seniors who participated regularly in the recreational programmes and treated them to a mobile visit and July 28 and 31 Soup Day.

“Staff and care-givers organised a mobile soup drive to deliver to all the groups’ participants,” said Mrs. Morton. “We took time to lift their morale and offer much needed interaction, while observing COVID-19 protocols. The feedback from the seniors was a delight as many had not seen programme organisers for months.”

Mrs. Morton noted that since re-opening after the government’s lock-down, the department has received many inquiries regarding the programmes offered for seniors on Nevis.

“Seniors have been persistently inquiring about coming out to the programmes,” she said. “They benefit older persons in socialising; playing steel pan; and engaging in intergenerational exchanges with primary school students across the island.

“Organized seniors groups provide an avenue for educational sessions, such as computer classes; awareness sessions on health; and other issues they face,” concluded Mrs. Morton. “Care-takers of these seniors also benefit knowing that their loved ones are out and engaged rather than alone and lonely during the day.”

Older persons on Nevis modelling at a Seniors Pageant hosted by the Seniors Division in the Ministry of Social Development.