UK's caricature (Credit to:Sheenybel T. Luntao)
(Date:12-22-2015 Published: 01-04-2016)

"Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever." This is a Walt Disney message that we wish to put across as we bring up the challenges posed by ageing population.

As defined, population is ageing when these two phenomena exist:

1) when there is a decrease in the proportion of the population composed of children
2) when there is rise in the proportion of the population of old persons

Initially, ageing or graying population was a phenomenon only affecting the more economically developed countries (MEDC), but afterwards has become widespread across the world.

According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the Philippines, the population of older people in the same country is growing more rapidly than the total population. The same office also illustrated the pace of population aging in the Philippines by saying that: in 1970, there were about 11 working people from whom support could be drawn for every elderly or aging individual. By 2020, it is projected that there will only be 6 people of reproductive age to support an elderly.

Bayawan City will be celebrating its "12th Healthy Lifestyle (HL) Program Anniversary" in 2016. The HL Program is an independent program which the city has added into its 22 regular health programs back in 2004, a program which we believe we need to advance to be able to assist individuals into "healthy and graceful aging"- a program that will impact the city's initiatives in limiting and reducing the special needs of older people while, at the same time, bloating their capabilities and abilities to cope with aging.

In the 2016 HL Program Anniversary celebration, there will be twenty (20) "Occupational Health Volunteers" who will be honored in a formal ceremony for saying "yes" to volunteerism for non-communicable diseases prevention and control. These 20 pioneering trained volunteers has been- for a year now- serving as equipped "good Samaritans" in their respective offices who, aside from their regular office functions, does BP-taking, weighing, and random blood sugar testing on "officemate-clients" who, for reasons, could not go to the City Health Office for such services. They are primarily recognized as a support system for officemates to keep track and keep up their healthy "health numbers" for disease prevention purposes. The group is also a "home and a family away from home" and a "health care away from a health facility" that caters and assists officemates who are sufferers of degenerative diseases, particularly in monitoring vital signs and symptoms which are gauges in the effectiveness of the sufferers' medical management and treatment as hypertensive and/or diabetics.

In anticipating for the 12th HL Anniversary recognition ceremony, we are extending our grateful appreciation to:

1. Ms. Karen Rose T. Cuenca of the City Mayor's Office (for a time)
2. Ms. Melinda M. Carballo of the City Mayor's Office (untrained but Registered Nurse)
3. Ms. Hazel A. Estinoso of the City Vice-Mayor's Office
4. Ms. June Cyril Pastorfide of the City Administrator's Office
5. Ms. Mary Ann T. Bongapat of the City Budget Office
6. Ms. Ofelia B. Vista of the City Assessor's Office
7. Mr. Reynaldo Crisostomo of the City Treasury Office (for a time)
8. Ms. Melody de los Santos of the City Engineering Office
9. Mr. Jorami Canoy of the City Engineering Office
10. Ms. Mary Decee Rizada of the City Accounting Office
11. Ms. Shielren Norico of the City General Services Office
12. Ms. Gemima Elmido of the Local Civil Registry
13. Ms. Ma. Eliza C. Villegas of the City Agriculture Office
14. Ms. Jennifer A. Diao of the City Environment & Natural Resources Office
15. Ms. Kristina O. Hamsirani of the City Cooperative & Manpower Development Office
16. Ms. Karen Galido of the City Public Safety Office
17. Ms. Michell Cayo of the City Veterinary Office
18. Ms. Noelle Faith B. Oracion of the Bids and Award Committee (for a time)
19. Ms. Joanna Lynn R. Trayvilla of the Bayawan Water District
20. JO1 Arjun D. Delgado of the Bayawan District Jail

We are likewise extending profound gratitude to our able trainers and resource persons, namely: Dr. Kenneth T. Coo (diplomate nephrologist of the Silliman University Medical Center and of the Holy Child Hospital of Dumaguete City, and visiting consultant of the Provincial Hospital Renal Unit) and Ms. Norma Norico (Senior Staff Nurse of the Bayawan District Hospital).

Preparing to address the challenges posed by a full blown ageing population may go beyond just health care but clinging on to and propagating the spirit of volunteerism from and among the current productive population seems to be still an inexpensive and practical option. Given the usual support from the LGU, we hope to train some more volunteers and even involve the "young once" themselves.

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