KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness said it is important that the country recognises and appreciates its senior citizens, particularly those who have lived beyond 100 years.
Holness, who was speaking during a visit with a centenarian, 105-year-old Winnifred Stern at her Lords Road home in Kingston on Friday, July 1, said the Government acknowledges and continues to put programmes in place to support and protect them, including the Social Pension Programme for persons 75 years and older.
The Prime Minister’s visit formed part of the post activities for Centenarians’ Day, observed annually by the Labour and Social Security Ministry, where persons who have reached 100 years and over are recognised.
Holness praised Stern on attaining the age of 105 and joked with her about passing her longevity on to him through hand-holding.
The Prime Minister said he was pleased that the centenarian, according to her daughter Jaqueline Clarke, remains active, eats well and enjoys going on outings.
“An important part of living long is being able to enjoy life and I am happy to hear that she goes out [and] she interacts because what the science is also saying is that people who have good connections, family and friends, and have that kind of a strong social circle [fare better in their later years],” he said.
Clarke shared that her mother still makes her own bed and prepares her tea from the mint leaves she picks from her garden.
Stern, who was a housewife and also dabbled in dressmaking, said many people marvel that she has lived this long, and have expressed to her that they want to be like her when they get old.
The Prime Minister presented Stern with a gift basket containing food items and personal care products.
As part of post-Centenarians’ Day events, Minister of Labour and Social Security Karl Samuda also visited a centenarian.
He paid a courtesy call to 100-year-old Sylvia Lyn at her Pembroke Hall home in Kingston.
Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Planning and the Public Service, Julian Robinson, spent time with another, 102-year-old Frannie Wright, at her Shalimar Avenue home in Kingston.
Centenarians’ Day was officially observed back in May under the theme ‘Healthy Ageing: Promoting Intergenerational Wealth’.