Information Officer I
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Vornicia's House of Commerce, Long Bush
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
E-mail Address: FRandall@gov.vg
Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley is urging the Virgin Islands community to challenge ageism and stereotypes associated with Senior Citizens.
Honourable Wheatley said people must acknowledge the tremendous potential of seniors and the vast reservoir of knowledge, experience and wisdom they possess as the Territory observes Senior Citizen's Month in May.
Honourable Wheatley noted that this year’s theme, Aging Unbound, encourages everyone regardless of age, to work towards creating a more inclusive and supportive environment that allows seniors to thrive, contribute, and engage in meaningful ways.
Minister Wheatley said, “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.”
He said within the coming months, the Social Development Department will expand its senior engagement services in several communities, including Sea Cows Bay and Virgin Gorda.
In addition, Honourable Wheatley explained that it is equally important to work together to create a more age-friendly society by implementing measures for seniors to maintain their independence.
To achieve this, the minister Wheatley stated, focus will be placed on providing accessible and affordable home modification services, such as installing grab bars, ramps, and stair lifts, to ensure that homes are safe and adapted to the evolving needs of our seniors.
He added, “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.”
Honourable Wheatley said fostering a network of accessible and reliable resources can create a supportive environment that caters to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of our senior citizens. This he said will allow them to age with dignity, grace, and a true sense of belonging in their communities.
This year marks the 34th anniversary of the celebration of Senior Citizen's Month in the Territory and the Ministry of Health and Social Development through the Elderly Services Programme have several activities slated for the seniors including a Church Service and Declaration Ceremony held at the Road Town Methodist Church on May 1.
Other activities include a seniors’ hike on May 3 in partnership with Hike BVI, an intergenerational day hosted by the East End/ Long Look Senior Programme and the Carrot Bay Senior Programme on May 15 and May 24 respectively. Additionally, there will be a Sip and Paint for the seniors on May 18 and Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly will have its open day on May 26.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development remains committed to supporting the needs of the senior citizen population of the Virgin Islands.