Minister urges public to fight ‘ageism’

Month of activities for older people planned

A draft government policy to address the needs of the elderly will be finalized by the end of October, Minister for Community Affairs Osbourne Bodden said in a message to mark the International Day of Older Persons, Oct. 1.

One of the aims of the policy is to combat ageism, something Mr. Bodden said was an “everyday reality” for elderly people in the Cayman Islands.

The theme of this year’s International Day of Older Persons and the local Older Persons Month is “Take a Stand Against Ageism.”

“Often overlooked for employment and stereotyped in the media, ageism marginalises and excludes older people in their communities, at a time in their lives when comfort and ease should be paramount,” Mr. Bodden said in his message.

Mr. Bodden said population statistics show there are 3,639 senior citizens, aged 65 and older in the Cayman Islands. Approximately 5,847 are between the ages of 55 and 64.

He said the government was aware of how prevalent ageism is and that “such discrimination harms rather than helps society.”

His ministry was focused, he said, on expanding efforts to provide “strategic guidance in the delivery of quality services for older persons.”

The ministry established a steering committee that is developing “a national policy for older persons which will go far to not only support this government’s efforts to protect the rights of older persons, but also ensure that they can contribute fully to our families and communities for many years to come.”

He said it was anticipated that the draft policy will be finalized by the end of next month, after which a series of meetings and press briefings would be rolled out to inform the public of the policy’s findings and recommendations.

“In the meantime, I encourage you to support the month-long activities that have been planned for our older persons,” he said.