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Older Persons Month Message

Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP greets Lanamae Smith and her mother Gloria Crowe at last year's Seniors Wellness Fair.

Message from Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP,

For Older Persons Month 2010

1 October, 2010

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 currently 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!

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes