Nassau, Bahamas – The Department of Social Services is frequently expected to house seniors when their families are unable or unwilling to assist them, Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Development the Hon Loretta Butler-Turner said during a press conference, Monday, September 27, announcing the schedule of activities for Older Persons Month.
“Unfortunately, these people do not believe that their seniors are their responsibility. The attitude is that they cannot afford to care for their parents or relatives financially,” she revealed.
“Hence, we must take the role as caregivers and must protect them from abuse and exploitation,” Mrs Loretta Butler-Turner said. “It is not uncommon, however, to find cases where seniors are being deprived of the homes, property/land and even their Old Age Pension. There are countless numbers of persons who fall in this category.”
She said individuals must be cognizant of the needs and rights of the older, more vulnerable members of our society. “These rights include independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity.”
Mrs Butler-Turner explained that the United Nations states that the rapid growth of the number of older persons could result in increased poverty, decline in housing and healthcare.
Therefore, she said, it is very fitting that The Bahamas has adopted the United Nations theme ‘Older Persons and the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals’.
These goals are: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empower women; reducing child mortality rate; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.
Mrs Butler-Turner said the Senior Citizens Division along with other officers of the Department of Social Services throughout the Family Islands will continue to ensure the enactment of the Millennium Development Goals, while examining closely the ageing of our population.
During the month of October, several activities will be hosted by the Department of Social Services in partnership with the National Council on
Older Persons to highlight issues, concerns and accomplishments related to older persons.
On Friday, October 1, a church service will be held at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, West Street.
On Monday, October 25, 2010, the Ministry will host its annual Nation Builder Award Ceremony, which will be held at Government House. Special Award will be presented to 10 older persons, unsung heroes, drawn nominations throughout The Bahamas, for their contribution to the development of the country.
An exhibit will be held, Tuesday, October 5, in the foyer of the Clarence Bain Building that is designed to create a sense of awareness regarding items that were utilised many years ago.There will also be a workshop on Dementia, Thursday 14 at the Transfiguration Church Hall that will inform on how to care for persons experiencing the ailment.
On Friday, October 22, the computer closing exercise will take place. The purpose of the classes is to give older persons the introductory information on modern technology. Then there will be a Fun Day for persons in group homes/rental units and urban renewal areas.