Letters to the Editor: Celebrate our elderly people

International Day of Older Persons
is observed across the globe on 1 October each year. In order to further honour
our seniors, the Cayman Islands also designates October as Older Persons
Month.  

This year as we celebrate the
contribution that our seniors made to our communities, we are mindful of our
immense responsibility to ensure the well-being of our older residents.

Indeed, this year’s theme, Older
Persons in Economically Challenging Times, comes against the backdrop of the
financial recessions being encountered in many parts of the world. 

Seniors face decisions about their
daily existence and long-term economic future just as everyone else does.

Undoubtedly their circumstances are
made more difficult by the fact that many are no longer a part of the labour
force and they must also deal with other issues associated with aging, such as
health. 

Further, while some seniors still
contribute in various areas of national life, there are numerous others who
must rely on relatives and others to meet their physical, emotional, financial
and social well-being.

Given their vulnerability and the
difficult global economic conditions, we as a country and community must
redouble our effort to care for, protect and empower our senior residents. 

Through its agencies, my Ministry
continues to assist our older residents who need financial and other forms of
support; even as we strive to ensure that they enjoy proper living conditions.
We are always mindful that they deserve a quality existence during their senior
years.

In keeping with this, Government
will soon officially open the newly upgraded West Bay Golden Age Home, which
will eventually house 20 seniors and offer daycare facilities for other older
persons within the community.

We will also continue to
collaborate with private agencies such as the Pines to co-support those senior
citizens who are in need of the quality care provided. It is against this background
that we have given our wholehearted support to the current Pines expansion
project.

Another important step we are
taking to protect our seniors is to establish far-reaching polices to guard
them from all forms of abuse and to hold family members more accountable.

A key part of senior safety
involves ensuring that the resources allocated for their care, whether by
government or others, are used for their intended purpose. Far too often we
receive reports that seniors are being victimized by dishonourable persons who
pretend to assist them. 

As I close let me remind you that
serving our seniors is our collective responsibility. As government continues
to do its part, family members must be the first line of defence—and then the
community.

I accordingly urge family and
community members to care for their older relatives and neighbours: Guide and
protect them; assist in providing material needs; engage them as active members
of the community. Last but not least, learn from their wisdom.

I take this opportunity to thank
our seniors for the many sacrifices they made for our country and urge everyone
else to personally add their thanks to my own.

May God bless you all!

 

Mike Adam

Minister of Community Affairs,
Gender and Housing

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