President of the Dominica Council on Ageing (DCOA), Ophelia Marie, has called on young people in the country to reach out to senior citizens and spend quality time with them.
This call is contained in an address by Marie to commence the celebrations of the Month of the Elderly, gazetted by the government 18 years ago and which runs from September 1 to October 1.
According to the DCOA president, this period is used to give recognition to seniors on the island for everything they have done and still continue to do.
Marie asked that persons include seniors in their activities and to be patient with the elderly as they strive to make their golden years the best that they can be.
“Look for that grandma or grandpa to reach out too. Don’t pack the aside and pass them straight as if they are not in existence,” she urged. “Take the time to show granny how to send a WhatsApp message, look for grandpa’s favorite music on YouTube and let it play for a little hour in the house. Let us work together until it becomes automatic to respect and love the older persons and to include them in the decisions that pertain to them.”
“Life is short,” Marie pointed out and warned that “the boomerang you may send out, may come back to you much faster than you think”.
She said because of the elderly in our midst, we have a conscience and a sense of values and on and account of them, we are close to the most high God and are close to nature and its surrounding abundance.
“Because of the sense of value that they have handed down to us, we find ourselves and formulate our own character, direction and destiny. How automatic it should be for us to honor the ground on which our seniors walk,” the DCOA president noted.
Speaking specifically to Grandparents Day – September 11 – a vital part of the Month of the Elderly, Marie pointed out that this year, the United Nations and the USA were encouraging people to pay attention, not only to the contributions that these people have made to Dominica’s development but also to their resilience.
For many of us, she pointed out, having a grandparent is one of the best things in our life and they are among our favorite people.
“Their hearts appear to be larger than those of our parents. Their patience, peace, and tolerance are like nobody else’s. Every day our grandparents demonstrate how resilient they are. They roll and rumble with the hardships that come with life. They adjust and invent ways to keep them and ourselves nourished with whatever means [are] available to them,” the DCOA President stated. “They have limited funds, failing health [due] to our changing environment [and] COVID and the loss of loved ones and as we watch them, we too appreciate and learn those coping skills.”
She asked that persons protect the elderly from the predators who seek to steal from and hurt them.
“Neglect them not, lest one day you be neglected,” Marie admonished Dominicans.