Good afternoon everyone,
Thank you for coming out today, for Age Concern’s Health Checks event. This is an important addition to the health screening opportunities offered in Bermuda for the public, and I applaud their continued commitment to this cause. It is a great addition to my Ministry’s vision of “Healthy People in Healthy Communities”.
The number of seniors in Bermuda is growing faster than the overall population. And with the increased availability of new technologies and increase in chronic non-communicable diseases, governments around the world – including Bermuda’s - are increasingly challenged to devote more resources to a larger, and more mobile senior population.
Declining immigration, together with fewer births, lower death rates and the greying of our population, has pre-determined the need for an emphasis on initiatives germane to our mature generation.
And while healthcare is just one of the many initiatives that are required, it has always been a central concern for seniors.
Between 1950 and 2000, the life expectancy of Bermudians grew by nearly 13 years.
Improvements in lifestyles, technology, medicine and education have all resulted in increased longevity. But as people live longer, they inevitably face more illnesses and disabilities, which means a higher demand for healthcare, particularly in the areas of high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, impaired vision and difficulties in mobility.
Seniors also face prevalent conditions found in the general population as well, requiring a community focus on asthma, dental health and weight management.
Therefore, it is extremely useful that Age Concern last year began their Health Checks initiative providing free screenings in many of these areas.
Age Concern’s activities for the betterment of Bermuda’s mature population needs to be highlighted and lauded. And the corporate partners who support this, and many other of Bermuda’s worthy causes, should be acknowledged.
I am happy to see that there is a growing legion of healthcare professionals who are also joining the Age Concern agenda, bringing their skills and expertise to the Health Checks event.
As one of the aims today is to build demonstrable data on the nature of our health risks and outline barriers to ongoing care, I will be most interested to see what results are derived from this exercise, and what knowledge may help us shape public policy for the future.
Age Concern is a proactive organization with some 4,000 members. And I know that there is at least that number again of age-eligible and community-minded people on the island, looking to join worthy causes.
So I urge more of the 50-and-over crowd to help Age Concern as they make a difference. The annual membership fee is nominal and it would make you a part of a solutions-oriented organization bringing value to you specifically, and the community in general.
Thank you for coming out today – be it to serve or assist our elders or to participate in the Health Checks.
Enjoy the event and may it bring you better health!