Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 07, 2022 (SKNIS): Over 100 seniors from across St. Kitts participated in an empowerment session on Thursday, October 06, 2022, that featured important information on COVID-19 vaccine boosters, healthy eating habits, as well as exercise and physical activity.
The event was organized by the Department of Social Services and Community Development with support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). It was held at the CUNA Conference Room at Fortlands. The discussion on vaccine boosters was facilitated by Dr. Dwayne Archibald, while Delwayne Delaney conducted the discussion on exercise.
Dr. Archibald said that although local cases of COVID-19 have significantly fallen off, there is still a need for vulnerable persons, such as the nation’s elderly, to protect themselves.
“As expected, there was some hesitancy from the crowd of the elderly. However, we still [are] on the COVID fight. It is not as rampant as it was before, but nevertheless, it’s still there and we are still trying, as much as possible, to decrease the numbers and to make it non-existent in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Dr. Archibald.
Exercise remains a key recommendation for overcoming COVID-19 infection as well as reducing the risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension and diabetes. Mr. Delaney led the group in an exercise session and expressed his desire for seniors to carry on in the days and weeks to come.
“I know that to get out into a gym may be difficult or even to join an exercise group but understanding that even [with] a little bit [of activity] something is better than nothing and what we will be doing today is a clear indication as to what can be done and fit into their routine,” he stated.
Mr. Delaney said that exercising up to 10 to 15 minutes per day can be extremely beneficial as it keeps the heart rate up.
Azilla Clarke, Director of Policy Planning and Projects within the Ministry of Social Development and Ageing et al said that the message shared at the empowerment session would be used in an awareness campaign.
“We will have informational billboards both in St. Kitts and in Nevis and the production of shirts to distribute to our senior citizens both for branding as well as to promote awareness to the general public about the way we treat and care for our seniors,” Ms. Clarke indicated.
St. Kitts and Nevis is celebrating October as the Month of Older Persons.