Older Persons’ Month urges a ‘stand against ageism’

The month of October is designated “Older Persons’ Month” in the Cayman Islands, during which a wide range of activities are planned for the islands’ senior citizens, including, for the first time, an “Older Persons’ Expo.”

Older Persons' Month Ambassador Janilee Clifford
Older Persons’ Month Ambassador Janilee Clifford

This year’s Older Persons’ Month theme on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac invites locals, residents and businesses to “Take a Stand Against Ageism,” organizers said.


This year, Janilee Clifford and James Powell, from George Town and West Bay, respectively, have been chosen as ambassadors for Older Persons’ Month, both selected in recognition of their outstanding and continuing contributions to local life.

As the faces of the annual observance, the pair is expected to attend several of the events coordinated by the Department of Children and Family Services.

The ambassadors have also been photographed for the forthcoming Older Persons’ Month calendar, which will publicize all the events in which senior citizens can participate during the month. Mrs. Clifford is well-known to generations of Caymanians as a former teacher at Cayman Prep Primary School. During her 30-year tenure, she saw many students thrive academically and is still recognized by her former pupils today.

The 84-year-old mother and grandmother retains her zest for life through her community work and still enjoys driving, swimming, cake making and organizing various church and community events.

Mrs. Clifford said society can embrace the month’s motto to ‘Take a Stand Against Ageism’ by recognizing and utilizing the abilities of members of the community who have reached the age of 60 and over.

Apart from raising her family and teaching, Mrs. Clifford said her most rewarding community contributions have been through the church. “For the past 22 years I have chaired ‘Happy Senior Fellowship Committee,’ a monthly event started by the Elmslie Memorial United Church, which has grown tremendously and now involves five churches in our Islands and the DCFS,” she said.

Her co-ambassador, Mr. Powell, is a voracious reader of political and financial news. The long-time cricketer and cricket fan said that being nominated to represent local elders throughout October was “a great honour.”

Older Persons' Month Ambassador James Powell
Older Persons’ Month Ambassador James Powell

The 75-year-old father of two daughters and seven grandchildren is widely recognized as a pioneer of local tourism resort development. As a contractor, he helped build many condominium complexes along Seven Mile Beach, including Christopher Columbus, Heritage and Tamarind Bay.

Mr. Powell is also a keen sportsman and a generous contributor to district causes, churches and charities.

Upcoming events

A press release issued by the Department of Children and Family Services states that one of the highlights of the month will be Cayman’s first Older Persons’ Expo, which will kick off the month of activities.

The expo will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Family Life Centre on Walkers Road, George Town, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, which will be opened by Governor Helen Kilpatrick and hosted by the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports, will include dozens of private and public sector stalls, the organizers said. Kiosks will showcase goods, services, resources and activities available to the elderly population.

Visitors to the expo will be invited to use free chair massages, take part in an interactive fitness demonstration and a lucky draw, and there will also be free health and wellness advice/screening. The expo will also feature a number of workshops, including fraud management, and advanced care planning presentations. Refreshments will be available.

Other Older Persons’ Month activities that seniors are invited to take part in include an island tour on Cayman Brac (Tuesday, Oct. 11), a Cultural Foundation folk song concert at the Harquail Theatre (Wednesday, Oct. 12), bingo night at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre on Cayman Brac (Friday, Oct. 14), a seniors’ gala at the Westin Ballroom (Saturday, Oct. 15), and a tea party at the Pines Retirement home (Saturday, Oct. 29).

Transport to the vast majority of Older Persons’ Month events will be organized by the Department of Children and Family Services.

For more information, contact 949-0290.