New President of the Dominica Council on Ageing (DCOA), Gloria Shillingford has described the elderly as “our jewels” who need to be safeguarded and given deepest respect.
She was speaking during the inauguration of the DCOA’s new executive at the Fort Young Hotel last Saturday night.
The event forms part of the association’s activities for the Month of the Elderly observed in September.
“Our population is an aging one and by the year 2030, there will be over two billion older persons in the world. It is to this end that we call upon everyone to embrace and love our elderly,” she said. “They are our gems, our jewels and need to be safeguarded and given our deepest respect and gratitude. They have paid their dues to us; they have built our country and made us who we are today.”
She said a nation is judged by the way it treats its elderly, “vulnerable and unfortunate members of society.”
“We must remain cognizant of the fact that how we treat our elders today will determine how we are treated tomorrow or in the future,” she remarked.
She went on say that older women in particular sometimes become victims of appalling abuse and violence.
Meantime; Tourism Minister Senator Robert Tonge, who represented Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit at the function, said the government continues to provide financial support and subventions to many organizations that provide care for the elderly who cannot necessarily care for themselves.
Amorganizations are the Mahaut Home for the Aged, the House of Hope in La Plaine, the Dominica Infirmary and the Grotto Home for the Homeless.
He noted that under the Ministry of Social Services headed by Catherine Daniel, “the government is truly committed to protection of our citizens.”
He said also the government continues its social programmes such as; “the Yes We Care Programme, the 70 and over care programme, free medical services for persons over the age of 60.”
“As you know we are upgrading our new national hospital, again to improve the lives and the health of our people,” he stated.
“I want to say to each and every one of you that we love you and that we care for you and we look forward to the protection of your livelihood,” he added.
Members of the New Executive are:
President- Gloria Shillingford
First Vice President- Evander Joseph
Second Vice President- Nigel Lawrence
Secretary – Nicholas George
Treasurer- Cecil Joseph
Assistant Secretary Treasurer- Lennox St Aimee
Supernumerary Members- Einsworth Irish, Ophelia Marie and Robertson Seaman
The Youth Arm of the DCOA, which consists of 22 members, was also launched at the ceremony.