Many seniors have fears about their financial security, Bermuda’s newest senator said yesterday.
Ianthia Simmons-Wade explained that older island residents were worried that they may not be able to live off their savings and pensions with a rising cost of living, as well as the possibility that they could need long-term care.
She added: “There are also concerns with their health coverage and support that may be required as a result of their declining health, which includes disabilities and chronic diseases.”
Mrs Simmons-Wade was speaking as she delivered her maiden speech in the Upper Chamber.
The veteran healthcare worker and widow of former Progressive Labour Party leader, the late Frederick Wade, is also the chairwoman of the Ageing Well Committee.
Mrs Simmons-Wade said that she was “very committed to improving the lives of Bermuda’s seniors” and that the Ageing Well Committee’s vision was for the island “to be a society for all ages, that celebrates and prepares responsibly for the ageing process”.
She added: “We aspire towards a life span of optimal heath, fulfilment, wellbeing, independence, interdependence, care, participating and dignity.
“We envision a Bermuda that recognises, embraces and supports the ageing adults in all aspects — economic, social, cultural, community and life.” She said that everyone in Bermuda had a role to play and a responsibility to work towards the goals of the Ageing Well Committee.
Mrs Simmons-Wade is a former administrator at the Summerhaven assisted living centre for the disabled in Smith’s. She has also worked at the Matilda Smith Williams Home for the elderly in Devonshire. Mrs Simmons-Wade has a degree in communications from Howard University in Washington DC, as well as a master’s degree in health service administration from George Washington University, also in the US capital.
She later carried out postgraduate studies in medical law and ethics at De Montford University, in Leicester in the UK.
She told senators that she was “deeply humbled” by her appointment and promised to work hard to create “a better and stronger future” for Bermudians.
Mrs Simmons-Wade added: “I promise to listen, I promise to care, I promise to work tirelessly, I promise to leave no stone unturned, and finally, I promise to speak with enthusiasm and courage on behalf of the ageing population.
“This is my pledge to you.”