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Love thy elders, pastor urges

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

Love thy elders, pastor urges

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DEPUTY CHAIRMAN of the National Assistance Board (NAB), Senator Reverend David Durant, wants an end to the abuse of the elderly and a show of greater love and respect.
He was speaking at the Grande Salle of the Barbados Central Bank during the launch of the Senior Citizens’ National Craft Exhibition under the recreational activities programme of the NAB last Friday.
Durant lamented that the elderly were not given the level of love, respect and compassion that was desirable for people who had made a significant contribution to the development of the society; and it was a cause for concern.
“Incidents of neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, financial abuse as well as physical abuse, all suggest that the spectrum of elder abuse is at an unacceptable level in our island, and a collaborative effort is needed to confront and deal with this perfidy,” he said.
Durant said the recreational activities programme was one way of offering “social integration and interaction” among the elderly, while reducing any isolation and loneliness experienced by those lacking a supportive social network.
“Such activities serve to imbue elderly persons with a sense of belonging, which is critical if older persons are to be truly a part of a society for all ages.
“In a society where the care for the elderly is rapidly on the decline, it’s refreshing to see this level of activity being offered to our senior citizens,” he stated.
Durant said that while scarce resources may have presented some challenges for the programme, those challenges would present an opportunity to intensify efforts at networking and developing partnership with communities. This, he added, was necessary to ensure the programme’s viability and sustainability.The programme was established in 1990 and currently has 14 centres across the island, with the most recent one established this year in Gall Hill, St John. The scheme boasts more than 400 seniors who are actively involved in activities such as dance, needlework and baking. (MM)