In November 2009, the National Council on Ageing began to conduct a Situational Analysis of Older Persons in Belize. This project was conducted over a six month period an involved interviewing 500+ older persons across the country. A Research Study questionnaire was designed and distributed to interviewers who conducted the study in their communities.
The booklets addressed major areas in the lives of older persons:
- Income Security
- Family Support
- Contribution to Community/Respect
- Housing /Living Conditions
- Social Support/Security of Person
The interviews came to a close at the end of March 2010 and the data was submitted for compilation and analysis.
On June 2, 2010 the NCA held a National Forum on the findings of the Situational Analysis at the Radisson Fort George Hotel. Hon. Peter Eden Martinez, Minister of Human Development and Social Transformation and Chairperson of the NCA, provided the main address with contributions from Dr. Beverly Barnett, PAHO Country Representative; Ms. Erika Goldson, UNFPA Representative and Mr. Gustavo Perera, SUMMA Research Consultant. Mr. Gustavo Perera presented the data, compiled by the analyst Mr. Jorge Aldana, in the form of dashboard tables that easily identified the trends emerging in each area of concern and the present conditions faced by those older persons interviewed.
The finding identified that the issues of access to medical care and medication is still a major concern, as is the need for financial stability and security. The majority of older persons do not receive a pension or benefit and an even greater number do not receive an income, which impacts greatly on other areas of older people’s lives such as not being able to afford to repair and maintain homes.
The Forum not only provided the stakeholder participants with the opportunity to gain a greater insight into the reality of day to day life of older persons in Belize but also to make comments and recommendations that will be included in the final situational analysis document.
The Situational Analysis is a vital document for the NCA as it provides us with the data needed to prioritize and address the ageing issues of Belize. The final document will be available during the month of July.