President: Treat Elderly with Care, Respect

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ELDERLY people have a significant role to play in society.

This according President Paula-Mae Weekes in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 5.

President Weekes said, “They play active and often primary roles in the rearing of grandchildren, serve as community leaders and peacemakers and can be counted on to provide and pass on life skills and priceless pearls of wisdom to the next generation.”

She added that after making contributions to their families and the wider society, many become victims of the most demeaning and degrading forms of mistreatment, often at the hands of their loved ones.

President Weekes highlighted that World Elder Abuse Awareness Day highlights this disgraceful and pervasive social ill experienced by approximately one in six older persons globally.

She said, “Many cases of abuse go unreported and undetected, due in part to the culture of shame and secrecy that silences victims and harmful stereotypes, which paint older persons as more expendable than other groups.”

“Elder abuse has many forms, but in the age of Covid-19, a particularly troubling manifestation is the failure to plan inclusively for the elderly. In the pivot to online services and other new ways of doing business, many senior citizens who are not equipped with technological know-how or devices have been left behind or exposed to financial exploitation by their relatives, friends or even strangers at the ATM.” She explained.

In order to reduce these risks, President Weekes said, “Banks and other financial and public institutions must redouble their efforts to make their systems and services more accessible and accommodating to older adults.”

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She added that, “The recent, appalling display of disregard for our senior citizens which left them standing—and when they could no longer stand, sitting—on the ground unshielded from the elements lining the nation’s roads is a less than subtle form of elder abuse.”

President Weekes said, “Conditions that would have been traumatic for the young were visited upon our senior citizens; I could not help but think how my own 92-year-old mother would have fared in those circumstances. I take the opportunity to thank the thoughtful and compassionate citizens who provided chairs for them to rest their weary bones as they waited, some in vain for the opportunity to be vaccinated.”

“While we dig ourselves out of this Covid-19 hole, let us all be alert to the forms of elder abuse that might arise during this crisis. Every sector of society has a part to play. Caregivers, beset with their own problems, must ensure that their personal challenges do not affect the quality of care they offer to their charges.” Her Excellency said.

Members of the public are asked to report cases of elder abuse to the Older Persons Information Centre hotline at 800-OPIC (6742).


One thought on “President: Treat Elderly with Care, Respect

  1. Excellence in caring, from Her Excellency. May God Bless her always, keeping her, and her family safe and well.

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