Retirees have contributed significantly to the development of this country. Every year the number of retirees increases and with both men and women living longer, financial stability for our senior citizens is a concern. The National Council on Ageing wants to ensure that more persons get to experience financial security in their golden years. In this regard, a conference is being held on “Financial Planning for Retirement”. Love news spoke with Ix-chel Poot, Executive Director for the National Council on Ageing, who said that the majority of older persons did not prepare for retirement.
Ix-chel Poot – Executive Director for the National Council on Ageing: “More than 60% of all older person dont have a pension or a pension benefit and it become a serious challenge so it’s really practical management of their finances and then being able to access any social support network that exist and we do need more social support networks across the country aside from the non contributory pension which is $100 a month. If an older person does not qualify for htat they then rely on organizations like helpage, Life, hope organizations that will provide them with meals and wheels and social support services and in some cases many of them rely on family , friends and also on the church system. Many churches have outreach programs that encompass older people as well.”
Dr. Noreen Jack, PAHO/WHO representative in Belize said that lack of financial security is a major obstacle to healthy ageing.
Dr. Noreen Jack PAHO/ WHO Representative in Belize: “The preparation for aging really begins in your youth, not only form a health perspective but a financial perspective . You need to secure some savings, some access to pension and therefore to be really useful its needs to begin early, when you’re older it’s just gets really difficult. You may not have sufficient resources and that is concern and many elderly people haven’t got access to and we just heard it in terms of pensions, some resources that they can live secured lives, they may just be on the margins of poverty in terms other income they have and they have worked all their lives and they have contributed all their lives but its not sufficient in terms of pension or financial support to them in their older life. We are living longer in general, the populations are living longer but part of living longer is also that you have more disease conditions like the noncommunicable diseases; hypertension, diabetes and they require care, access to health services and medication.
Poot said that later this year, they will conduct similar activities throughout the country which will be aimed at capturing a larger number of older persons.