More than 200 senior citizens and their caregivers, including eight from Cayman Brac and one from Little Cayman, gathered for the annual Seniors’ Easter Celebration at the Family Life Centre last week.
The celebration was a joint initiative of the Department of Children and Family Services and the Seventh-day Adventist Community Services Department.
Seniors entertaining on stage included ‘Aunt Sookie (former MLA Daphne Orrett) and Friends’, Roy Bodden on guitar, and Curtis and Christine Barnett performing a duet featuring the song ‘Uncle Gummy’s Cassava’, composed by Chris Barnett.
The programme also included musical performances by seniors drawn from the various districts, and dramatic interpretations of song from Cayman Academy children. While the music was under way, senior students of Cayman Academy served as waiters and waitresses.
The seniors also were engaged in roundtable discussions, arranged by Cassandra Fearon, the Department of Children and Family Services social work manager for the Elderly Services Unit. Social workers and community development officers, along with pastors and other leaders from a range of churches, led discussions at each table.
Fearon said that the response during the group discussions, in which members shared issues in their lives and sought to help each other, “demonstrated the necessity and importance of these types of activities for seniors”. Topics included healthy expression of emotions, working through unresolved issues, and concerns related to decreasing social circles, poor health and other life changes.
One of the facilitators, Thelma Richards, who is supervisor for the Adult Special Needs Programme operated via the various residential homes, said, “The clients were willing to open up and share their thoughts,” adding that the exchanges obviously brought a degree of emotional release.
Teresa Echenique, chief officer for the Ministry of Human Resources, Immigration and Community Affairs, delivered the opening remarks, before going from table to table during the roundtable discussions, greeting participants.
Echenique said, “The value of our older persons far exceeds what words could express,” adding, “Their hard work and dedication provided the foundation for us and opened opportunities that have allowed us to advance to where we are today. We give thanks for the opportunity that we have to celebrate and enjoy our older persons.”