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Celebrating Seniors

Shaping the Future for Our Senior Citizens is the 2012 theme for Cayman's Older Persons Month in October.

Beginning with the United Nations designated International Day of Older Persons (Monday, 1 October) and spearheaded by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the month features a series of events to honour the country's seniors.

Inspired by the global theme, this year's national theme was selected to bring attention to the fact that older persons have much to contribute to the community. It will also highlight society's role in ensuring the quality well-being of our older residents.

The month long celebrations will begin on 4 October with a luncheon followed by a tea party at the Governor's House along with other social gatherings throughout most districts.

"While many seniors contribute in various areas of national life, there are others who must rely on relatives and friends to meet their physical, emotional, financial and social well-being," said Minister responsible for Community Affairs, Gender & Housing, Hon Mike Adam, MBE, JP.

Encouraging collective responsibility, he added, "Given their vulnerability, we as a country must double our efforts to care for, protect and empower our senior residents."

Although October is dedicated to honour, respect and care for the Islands' elderly, a key part of the celebrations is ensuring that the resources allocated for their care, whether by government or others, are used for the intended purpose.

"There are many seniors who continue to make a difference through work in their churches; volunteering in education; in health and other spheres of life," Director of DCFS Alicia (Jen) Dixon said.

Unfortunately, she observed, there is a tendency to marginalise seniors as they lose some of the abilities they had when they were younger.

"There are many who think that seniors can no longer make a difference or have an impact and as such they do not include them in activities or in any kind of decision-making. Our senior citizens have contributed significantly to the development of our islands and still have much to offer, especially to our children and young persons. Like all of us, our older persons want to know that they are needed, valued and that there is someone who cares for them and is looking after their welfare," added Ms Dixon.

Many of the indigent who are assisted by DCFS are older persons.

"This month we want to ask persons to show care and make our seniors feel like they are a valuable part of the community and the family," she said.

Sharing the same thoughts, Minister Adam urged families and community members "to care for their older relatives and neighbours: protect them; assist in providing material needs; engage them as active members of the community and learn from their wisdom."

To find out more information, contact DCFS at 949-0290.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Yvette Cacho