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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

October 22, 1999 - A Needs Assessment Survey of the elderly is now underway here. The survey is being conducted by HelpAge International of which Saint Lucia is an affiliate.

Regional Representative of HelpAge International Jeff James who is on island for the next five months, says the survey is being carried out with a view to making recommendations on measures that can be taken to improve and expand services and programmes for older persons we are doing a community needs assessment of older persons, we are looking at the institutional capacity both within government and non government sectors to provide services and programmes for older people. We are looking at specific guidelines for the operation for residential and home-based care programmes, " said James.

HelpAge International is using two approaches in carrying out the survey, - research with older people in several communities and conducting interviews with institutional stake holders, that is persons within government and non governmental organisations, who create and design programmes for assisting in the needs of the elderly.

In the process of this Needs Assessment Survey, a number of Saint Lucians will receive training in age awareness and research methods in other health areas. This, James says, will ensure that long after the survey has been completed Saint Lucia will be able to boast of a cadre of personnel equipped to deal with older persons and other issues pertaining to them.

1999 is being observed as the International Year of Older Persons under the theme "Towards a Society for All Ages" and Saint Lucia is working closely with HelpAge International to improve life for the elderly.


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