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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

González Colón promises her administration will look out for the elderly

Resident commissioner and candidate for governor Jenniffer González Colón said: “We need to adapt to the reality that Puerto Rico continues to age and that is why it is necessary to refocus our vision of the elderly as contributors to the socioeconomic development of Puerto Rico.”

By The Star Staff

Gubernatorial candidate and vice president of the New Progressive Party (NPP) Jenniffer González Colón presented on Thursday her proposal for the transformation to a government that is accessible and that sensitively addresses the realities of Puerto Rico’s elderly, where the important sector of the population can maintain their autonomy, have a better quality of life and integrate into both the private and third sectors.

“We need to adapt to the reality that Puerto Rico continues to age and that is why it is necessary to refocus our vision of the elderly as contributors to the socioeconomic development of Puerto Rico,” González Colón said. “We need a government that understands and addresses the needs of older adults, that is accessible, sensitive, and that takes into consideration the capacities and limitations that this population may have. We have to put an end to bureaucracy in public management.”

As a result of the increase in people’s average life expectancy, the world’s population is aging and virtually all countries are experiencing growth in the number and proportion of older people in their population. Between 2010 and 2020, the life expectancy of Puerto Ricans increased by two years, from 79 years to 81 years. Not only has Puerto Rico experienced this global trend, but other demographic factors have exacerbated the situation. The precipitous decline in the birth rate, combined with the migration of people of productive age to the continental United States are exacerbating factors on the island, the resident commissioner noted.

Puerto Rico is the American jurisdiction with the second-highest percentage of people over 60 years of age (27.61%). It is estimated that this proportion will continue to increase in the coming years.

The resident commissioner pointed out that 40% of older adults in Puerto Rico live below the poverty level, meanwhile, with 88.1% of this population out of the workforce, with their main sources of income being Social Security (80.8%), the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN) (40.7%) and retirement pensions (30.5%).

A full 39.9% of older adults have not graduated from high school, and only 18% have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Meanwhile, study after study shows a correlation between a sedentary or inactive lifestyle and various physical illnesses and mental health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety.

Mental health has also been shown to be the most influential factor in physical health changes. However, 55% of older adults in Puerto Rico do not engage in activities inside or outside their home.

González Colón noted that “since I started my campaign I have always said that my priority would be the people, the people and the people.”

“I’m going to give power back to the people; I’m going to work for the 95% and not for the 5% of the population,” she said. “I’m here to serve, [but] not only to serve, I’m here to make sure that the money that’s coming in is in your pocket. The growing population of our seniors deserves, after a lifetime of contributing to our society and families, all the attention and sensitivity of their government. That is why I propose for this sector some actions and transformations with a real sense of addressing the problems that afflict them in their day-to-day lives.”

To achieve a better quality of life for older adults, a González Colón administration would be focusing on the areas of health and wellness, safety, fraud and financial exploitation prevention, quality of life and social connection initiatives, and social development as well as economic development, dramatically changing public policy and the way the government provides them support and services to this population, the candidate said.

“I thank the public servants who donated their time to prepare a platform for older adults that will result in real change for this population,” the resident commissioner said. “It’s unfortunate that I can’t recognize them by name and surname because they fear the reprisals that the current administration may take against them for supporting my campaign.”

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1 Comment

Oscar Melendez
Oscar Melendez
Feb 16

She needs to include, in her plan for the future, compensation for the thousands of citizens killed and injured by the covid injections.

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