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EDITORIAL – That thy days might be long in the land


marciadottin, [email protected]

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THE THEME RANG Protect, Respect And Connect. The Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) was entertaining the ageing and the youthful. After all, BARP’s mission was “to foster healthier and closer relationships between the elderly and youth”.
And on Saturday at Pax Hill in St Michael that was done: this “bridging the generational gap through an afternoon of fun”.
Earlier that day, in Jubilee Gardens in The City, a fair had been promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s disease in our ageing society. The event wasn’t as energetic as Pax Hill’s Elders Awareness Day, but it attracted enough members of the public.
And on Wednesday night of last week, community nutrition officer of the Ministry of Health, Bryan Payne, was extolling the virtues of a good diet and mental stimulation: a regime that might help to stave off dementia.
Helping him along at the panel discussion at Solidarity House with the signs of the “chronic degenerative disorder that affects the brain” was Dr Ambrose Ramsay, advisor to the Barbados Alzheimer’s Association.
But soon, all the public positive activity will cease – regrettably. Senior Citizens Month will come to an end on Thursday. We will be back to the lament on how badly old people are being treated in this country, and we are going to hear of papers on the aged, and be promised fresh laws to deal with elderly abuse.
Until Senior Citizens Month next year.
Even in this period of basking in elderly glory, there was some lament.
Minister of Health Donville Inniss had to remind Barbadians that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was not a “residential care facility”.
Shockingly, 15 old people discharged from the QEH have had nowhere to go – in  Senior Citizens Month. And that was because not a single relative would come to take any of them home.
Barbadians who are alive and kicking have a bounden duty to look after their elderly parents or former guardians, if for no other reason than it is the fair thing to do. Let us not quibble about its being right, and decent, and moral, and righteous in the sight of God.
For decades now the politicians have dedicated themselves to dealing with the pharaonic hearts, only to recant when they consider they might be forsaking staying votes for those that are surely going.
Our elderly deserve better. It can’t be that the state is spending more quality time with them than their families. It wasn’t always this way, a younger generation distancing themselves from the weaker and older.
Let’s not forget that Barbados is among those countries showing the fastest growth in the ageing population.
We will only say to whom it may concern: Your time too shall come!

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