President of the Dominica Council on Ageing (DCOA) Ophelia Olivaccé Marie has said that the council plans to create a pilot for a health insurance programme for senior citizens in Dominica.
Marie said at a recent DCOA press conference that the plan has already been endorsed by the council.
“The vibrant senior citizens are looking at a pilot for health insurance for seniors. It has already been endorsed by the council under the last President,” she said. “It is moving slowly but we are looking to link with partners locally and abroad to see if something can happen.”
Marie said further that there are challenges concerning abuse of the elderly on island and some are afraid to report it.
“Unfortunately, some of the seniors do not want to report on what is happening to them, because many times, the people who are being the abusers, are close people to them, family, those who are being paid to take care of them,” she explained. “Some of them get their hair pulled; some of them are told, ‘you are not going to watch Young and Useless today, forget about the programmes you like’.”
According to her, some of the senior citizens are being asked to change their political preferences.
“They want to take them to the booth [polling booth] and when they don’t put the X where whoever brings them want, they are told that you are staying there; somebody will pick you up,” she stated.
Meantime, Supernumerary member of the DCOA, Colin Bully has identified loneliness as one the challenges faced by Dominica’s elderly and that, he said, has been a major concern.
“Their children – those who support them – are not doing a good job; they are abandoned sometimes…,” he remarked. Their biggest fear is that they do not have money to survive.”
Furthermore, he said there are a number of senior citizens in Dominica who own houses and land but they can’t go to the bank to get a loan, while the greatest fear of others he works with, he says, is having no money to be buried.