Monday, 13 February 2017 09:46
The Barbados Workers’ Union is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to devise a healthy living initiative for its Retirees. The project, which will be organised under the aegis of the Ministry of Health’s Health Promotion Unit, aims to introduce monthly sessions that include physical exercise classes, health education and peer support with a view to influencing the establishment of healthy behaviours in a 65 year plus demographic.
The objectives of the healthy lifestyles project are:
- to explore participants’ attitudes toward the development of healthy behaviours and healthy behaviour improvement; and
- educate the participants on benefits of healthy eating and physical activity as these issues relate to non-communicable diseases
The project will commence on February 16th, and end on June 15th – a follow-up survey will be completed four months post intervention.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, among developing countries Barbados now has one of the highest portions of older persons. 1n 2005, 17% of the population was over 55 years of age and this is anticipated to increase to 26% of the population by the year 2020. An aging population is often a reflection of effective policies and programmes. However, an aging population often comes with concerns that affect all sectors of society, including the health sector.
Good health allows seniors to be productive and independent in their later years. However, NCD such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes can diminish the quality of life of seniors, raise health care costs and ultimately increase pressure on family members who are responsible for their care, according to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
According to the Barbados Health of the Nation Survey, 50% of adults aged 65 years and over are at a 10% risk of stroke or heart attack over the next ten years. In addition, almost one in two of those persons aged 65 and older are hypertensive. It is evident that the non-communicable disease epidemic has greatly affected the older sector of the population.