Minster of Health and Social Development Ronnie Skelton has claimed that the social value of senior citizens has increased in the Territory.
He said they are now in a position to even tell the young people: “Hold your horses young people; we are not done yet; we have a lot more to give.”
Skelton reasoned that the term “senior citizen” also no longer reflects the “new reality of the Territory’s more vibrant, knowledgeable, and active older adult”.
“I can remember a time in the Virgin Islands when our seniors mostly just looked forward to retirement. Retirement meant that, as a senior, your contribution to our community slowed down considerably… You were made to feel that the vast amount of knowledge you acquired through many years of experience was no longer needed. As an approaching senior, I am proud to say that this seems to have changed,” the minister said this week in a message to mark the 2017 Senior Citizens Month.
He continued: “Our improved social services, healthcare services, and increased knowledge of healthier lifestyle choices have not only enhanced longevity; our standard of living and our quality of life have also improved. This improved quality of life has resulted in a trend of increased seniors’ participation in – and continued contribution to our society. My fellow residents, I am happy to see that this is no longer a trend; it has now become the norm.”
Skelton also gave the reassurance that he will continue to recognize the voice of the Territory’s elders. “The ministry will continue to endeavor to provide every opportunity for our elders to age out loud. We are listening when they say ‘we will not be cast aside’. We are listening when they say ‘we are working; we are taking charge; we are making healthier choices; we are thriving in our communities; and we have much more to contribute and to achieve.”