Support group expanding nationwide to better serve retirees
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson (left), in discussion with President of the North East Chapter of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP), Pixley Irons, and Founder and Executive Chairman of the (CCRP), Jean Lowrie-Chin, at the chapter’s launch recently in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
With over 50 per cent of Jamaica’s elderly (60 years and older) said to be either alone, single or widowed, the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) has been forming chapters across the island to offer them both social and emotional support.
Founded in 2010 by communications consultant and seniors advocate, Jean Lowrie-Chin, the CCRP, in addition to its head office in Kingston, now has chapters in Mandeville for central Jamaica; Montego Bay for western Jamaica, and more recently, the north east chapter, which is based in Ocho Rios.
At the official launch of the north east chapter, which serves the parishes of St Ann, Portland and St Mary, recently, Lowrie-Chin said one of the CCRP’s main goals is to see to the continued holistic development of its members by ensuring that they live ‘life to the fullest’, as stated by the organisation’s motto.
“Another goal is to encourage and support the rights and welfare of retired persons. It is a commonly appreciated fact that ageing is likely to be accompanied by challenges to health and well-being, at the same time that the capacity to earn an income is either decreasing or disappearing,” Lowrie-Chin indicated.
“The only criterion for becoming a member of the CCRP is age. You have to be 50 years or older to belong to this community. What this means is that some 400,000 Jamaicans are eligible to be members, and could benefit from the growing range of services offered by the organisation,” she added.
Lowrie-Chin said members of the CCRP are entitled to a number of benefits, including discounts at some stores, eligibility for enrolment in a group medical health insurance, and professional networking opportunities.
“The three major benefits which the CCRP offers its members are geared to address these realities: first, medical insurance to provide some security against serious illness; second, discounts on goods and services to provide some economic relief through negotiated concessions from ‘discount partners’; and third, a caring committee to offer compassion and emotional support to members in times of distress,” she stated.
The mandate of the caring committee is to provide direct support, care and attention to members who, for reasons of ill health, loss of family members, loneliness or other unusually stressful situations, require special attention.
“New partners are continually being added to increase the benefit of belonging to this growing community,” Lowrie-Chin said.
For her part, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson, said the CCRP should be lauded for its role in providing a platform for senior citizens, and to ensure that “life doesn’t end” at retirement.
The minister said she is also appealing to all well-thinking Jamaicans to protect the elderly and be appreciative of the sacrifices they have made to nation building, and where many of them “have put service before self”.
“I am calling on Jamaicans to report incidence of abuse of senior citizens to the police, and also the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC). I am also encouraging our senior citizens, 60 years or older, to register with the NCSC,” she urged.