An independent body should be set up to manage and distribute pensions to older people who are at risk of being cheated, especially in the absence of trustworthy caregivers.
This recommendation was made in the draft National Policy on Aging for Barbados 2022-2023 who suggested that the agency would work closely with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to put in place strict measures to ensure that the finances of older people are not abused or mismanaged.
Senior policy consultant Professor Dwayne Devonish said the proposed body would also work with other relevant agencies, family members, community members and vigilant carers to build and run systems and robust monitoring and reporting protocols to monitor, investigate and address issues. related to the misappropriation and abuse of old age pensions and other social security benefits.
He highlighted some areas of the draft policy during a national consultation organized by the Ministry of Human Empowerment and Elder Affairs in Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center Friday.
Another key area, Professor Devonish said, is educating older people and their carers about the rights of older people to “sound and appropriate use and management of their pensions and other social security benefits to maintain their protection and care”.
He said there is also a need to continuously educate, guide and instruct those seeking permission to act on behalf of older adults on “their duty of care and responsibilities in managing pensions. , social security for elderly beneficiaries”.
Professor from the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies pointed to another suggestion in the paper that work needs to be done to expand acceptable and improved social security coverage through targeted and approved legal and other structural reforms, for older people with little or no social security coverage.
The draft policy also calls for efforts to support and defend the rights of older people to obtain employment.
Professor Devonish said legislation, policies and other interventions at national and institutional levels should be used to remove social barriers preventing older people from getting and keeping jobs.
“Some of these initiatives may include allowing older people to continue working for as long as they want to work and are able to work and/or removing barriers to working beyond retirement, and removing barriers to age affecting older people who want to find and keep a job and mitigate the emergence of disadvantages experienced by older workers in employment,” he said.
“Organize tripartite interventions between government, employers and unions to encourage and incentivize employers to hire and retain older workers in organizations, as well as invest in training and development opportunities to retrain and upskill these workers to maintain their level of motivation, morale, and productivity within the workspace,” he added.
Professor Devonish said that National Policy on Aging is one of the most progressive attempts to address several issues facing older people and he called on all public and private sector stakeholders, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to work in tandem to support and protect the elderly population of Barbados.
“We have a policy document – it is in draft form, it is being finalized but we need to ensure that the implementation is done correctly. We call on not only the government, but all relevant partners to come together….
“This is what we call a whole-country approach to this policy response. That’s why we have this session here, where we say that even though the government, through the Ministry of Human Empowerment and Elder Affairs, has commissioned this exercise, we are asking people to join in us to deliver, not just in the conceptualization stage where we are still at, but also in the execution and even the monitoring and evaluation periods,” Professor Devonish added.