Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence on Wednesday announced plans to reduce the number of elderly persons who are institutionalised by implementing a programme to assist families with caregiving.
The revelation was made at the Umana Yana, during a lunch session where 144 elderly persons originating from the mining town of Linden were honoured. The event was part of a roster of activities planned for October, which has been designated as the Month of the Elderly. This year’s theme is “Take a stand against ageism.”
“We want to ensure that we have a generation who understands the importance of keeping our ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ in the home. And not to look towards institutions to place our elderly,” Lawrence stated.
The Minister also took the opportunity to reinforce the government’s commitment to improving the conditions of the elderly by increasing the old age pension to $20,000 per month.
“I want to assure you that the Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Social Protection, will hold true to our resolution to honour you. We have begun, as Minister has indicated, to fulfill our promise of providing you with a pension of $20,000. And we are just shy of meeting that mandate by $1, 800,” Lawrence said, before adding, “…we will see what the Lord will provide for us come December when the Minister of Finance raises the budget in the National Assembly.” This statement was met with applause from the audience.
President David Granger, in his address, affirmed his confidence in Lawrence’s abilities and assured those assembled that they indeed are protected under the Ministry.
The initiative, which was coordinated by Minister within the Ministry of Communities Valerie Adams-Patterson, who is a Member of Parliament for Region 10, included sightseeing visits to the Public Buildings, the seawall, the Botanical Gardens and D’Urban Park, as well as lunch with the President.