Older Persons Month is reimagined

Emphasis is on smaller district activities

The Department of Children and Family Services is hosting a socially-distanced Older Persons Month this October. The theme of this year’s observation is ‘Life Stories: Then and Now’.

With over 20 activities planned across the three islands, this month of recognition will be more district-based than before.

Adhering to COVID prevention regulations means that the DCFS has opted for smaller, mainly district-based events. Persons will need to pre-register for events through the Department’s District Community officers. They will only be allowed to attend Older Persons Month gatherings and events in their home district (the one exception being the George Town Walkabout, which will accommodate small family parties from 9am to 4pm).

“The 2020 theme encourages families and individuals in the community to really listen, and learn from their older relatives. It may also provide a great opportunity for intergenerational discussion and debate,” said DCFS Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams.

“Older persons carry the collective memory of the Cayman Islands. Our spoken ‘people’s history’ is every bit as important as what is written in books. Culture and heritage can also be transmitted from each generation in this way. We can learn many important life lessons from the past, which can give direction to our shared future,” she said.

The month-long observance starts on Thursday – International Day of Older Persons – with the first airing of a five-part documentary series. The ‘Life Stories’ programming broadcast airs on CIGTV at 6:30 pm on Thursdays. The half-hour long interviews with older Caymanians explaining aspects of their lives will also air on government’s YouTube and social media channels.

Instead of an opening church service, local churches in each district have been asked to set aside one Sunday service in October to reflect on the life stories of older persons.

Ministry of Community Affairs Chief Officer, Teresa Echenique said, “I appreciate the challenges that our older persons have faced recently, as a result of COVID-19, and it is therefore extremely important that our seniors have something to look forward to and participate in for the month ahead.

“We have always had a tremendous response to our Older Persons Month activities, and although this year we have had to make some adjustments to our approach, I encourage seniors to attend activities in their districts. From open-air movie nights [to] district walkabouts, district breakfasts, an outdoor comedy show, concerts and virtual bingo, this year’s Older Persons Month, although unique and different, promises to entertain and engage.”

Echenique added that the DCFS staff put a lot of effort into planning these events and she thanked them for their work, along with the public and private sectors for their continued support.

Copies of the events calendar can be picked up at the Government Administration Building, public libraries, supermarkets and district clinics. Alternatively, it can be viewed online here.

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