GIS - Dec 21, 2012: The twentieth Elderly Day Care Centre was inaugurated in Floréal yesterday by the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, Mrs. Sheila Bappoo. This is the first of its kind in an urban region, and demonstrates the willingness of Government to work for the welfare of elderly citizens. It is located at Jhoory Lane, in Floréal. Elderly Day Care Centres usually allow elderly persons in a locality to meet and interact with each other and organise leisure and health activities together.
In her address, Minister Bappoo lauded the contribution of elderly citizens to the socioeconomic development of the country. It is only just reward that they are being taken care by Government. The ageing population, she said, will keep increasing in the next decades, and Government needs to implement relevant measures to be able to adapt to such demographic changes.
“We certainly do not want our elderly citizens to end their remaining days in elderly homes, far from their own family and house. This is why the Ministry keeps organising activities for our elderly because we want them to be in good health and to fight loneliness”, she remarked. The minister also encouraged senior citizens to be more vigilant when they stay in the Recreation Centres. “They should not leave doors and windows open at night, even if the temperature is uncomfortable. I will see if we can add another fan in each room”, she said.
Moreover, Minister Bappoo also recalled some of the main projects benefiting the elderly citizens of the country: the acquisition of two luxury coaches attached to the Recreation Centres of Belle-Mare and Pointe aux Sables respectively, at the cost of Rs 7.3m; the launching on an Observatory on Ageing; a series of legal counseling programmes on Property Rights for senior citizens; and the training of community carers for the elderly. A new Recreation centre is under construction at Pointe aux Piments, necessitating investments to the tune of Rs 155.8m. Another Recreation Centre for the elderly will be constructed at Riambel in 2014 with investment to the tune of Rs 204m.
For her part, Hon. Ms. Stéphanie Anquetil, Deputy Government Whip and Member of Parliament for the Constituency Vacoas/Floréal, spoke of her admiration for the elderly citizens of Mauritius. She congratulated them for remaining active and for their keen interest in music and other forms of entertainment. Mr. Sunil Beedassy, outgoing Mayor of the Municipal Council of Curepipe, said that he was very moved by this occasion, especially given that the Elderly Care Centre is in Floréal.
The inauguration ceremony also comprised a handing over of computers to the Senior Citizens Council by Airports of Mauritius, a Christmas ceremony, a distribution of gifts to senior citizens, the unveiling of an inaugural plate, and a visit of the Elderly Day Care Centre. A cultural programme entertained the assistance. There were several musical or dance items performed by Mrs. Denise Laroulette, Mrs. Premila Gajadar and Group, Mrs. Priscilla Orger and the Children’s Club of Grannum.
Today, Mauritius has an elderly population of about 165,000 which represents 13% of the total population of the country. Comparatively, in 1972 the elderly population represented 6% of the population, while in year 2000, it was 9%. The workforce population is also undergoing an ageing process and is retracting every year, thus impacting on the Pensioner Support Ratio, i.e. the ratio of workers/retired persons. This ratio, which was 6.7 in year 2007, will decrease to 2.3 by year 2047. The current budget for Social Security amounts to Rs 11.3 billion, including Rs 7.25 billion for old-age pension. There are at present over 635 senior citizens associations in Mauritius and 60 in Rodrigues.