Nevis Minister responsible for Seniors delivers address to mark International Day of Older Persons and Seniors Month

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (October 01, 2018) — The following is an address delivered on October 01, 2018, by Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister with responsibility for Seniors on Nevis to mark International Day of Older Persons and  Seniors Month on Nevis.

Fellow citizens,

I greet you on the occasion the International Day of Older Persons, and the start of the celebrations of Seniors Month.

We here on Nevis have been celebrating October as the Month of Older Persons for a number of years and, of course, this year is no exception.   The month-long celebration was born out of the observance of the International Day of Older Persons.

The International Day of Older Persons is celebrated annually on the 1st October.  This day set aside by the United Nations, recognizes the contributions of older persons to the development of society.

This year’s theme: ‘Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions’, is in line with the guiding principle of the Secretary General of “Leaving No One Behind”.  With a clear understanding of the demography and population dynamics, it is fundamental that older persons are incorporated in all aspects of living for sustainable development.

It must be acknowledged, and according to statistics, over 20 percent of the world’s population will be over 60 years by the year 2050.  With this projection, attention must be given to the needs and challenges of older persons and efforts should be made to ensure that they continue to function in society.  This is an inherent part of human rights.

This year, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, the theme selected for celebrating this International Day of Older Persons reaffirms the commitment to promote the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and freedoms of older persons.

International Day of Older Persons is dedicated to honor, respect and care for the world’s elderly.  This day also seeks to raise awareness of the impact of an ageing population and to ensure that while growing old the dignity and the right to participate in society remain.

This year’s theme is focused on four primary thematic areas:

  • Promoting the rights enshrined in the Declaration and what it means in the daily lives of older persons
  • Raising the visibility of older persons as participating members of a society that is committed to the improvement of human rights in all areas
  • Reflecting on the progress and challenges in ensuring full and equal enjoyment of fundamental freedoms by older persons and

Engaging audiences worldwide in mobilizing people at all stages of life to enjoy human rights

As we in Nevis join with the millions throughout the world to celebrate International Day of the Elderly, we recognize the contributions made by our seniors to the development of our island and for the freedoms to enjoy our human rights.

Although many of their contributions may never be lauded and or documented, it is because of their championing of causes and fighting the battles why we now have the rights to universal education, healthcare, freedom of speech and association, and to make choices in free and fair elections.

Today, as I join my counterparts throughout the Caribbean and the world in celebrating International Day of Older Persons, I wish to express gratitude to the members of staff at the Department of Social Services Senior Citizens Division, for their excellent efforts in ensuring that the seniors on Nevis receive the best possible service.

I can proudly state that the services and programmes provided for our seniors are outstanding, they are second to none in the region and probably among the best in the world. To illustrate this assertion, we do not limit ourselves to only celebrating International Day of the Elderly – we plan an entire month of activities dedicated to them.  This is in support of the year round programmes and activities they are engaged in and are able to enjoy.

A variety of activities have been carefully planned as we celebrate our seniors during the month of October and we are soliciting the support of the general public where and when possible.

This Friday October 5th there is the Seniors march from the Lonsgstone Wall to the Elquemedo T.Willett (ETW) Park starting at 9 a.m.  Our seniors will be featured on VON Radio’s morning inspiration every Monday.

On Wednesdays, except the final Wednesday of the month, our caregivers will be engaged in an initiative dubbed “To the Homes with Love”.  This involves the selection of a number of homes of seniors which will be visited and given special attention and treatment.

On Friday October 12th, the Seniors Division will collaborate with the Mental Health and Health Promotion Units, in the hosting of a health fair and that would run from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

The Flamboyant Nursing Home will celebrate a week of activities from Sunday 14th to Saturday 20th.  During that week there will be the appreciation of centenarians and donations made to the Flamboyant Nursing and the St. George and St. John Senior Citizens Homes on Tuesday 16th.

There are four centenarians on the island, two residing at the Flamboyant Nursing Home and two residing at their respective homes in Gingerland.  All four centenarians are from St George, Gingerland.

A Family Fun Day has been organized for Thursday 18th at the ETW Park starting at 10 a.m.  Family members of seniors and members of the public are being specially invited to join our seniors on that day of fun.

On Tuesday 23rd there is an inter-generational exchange at the Charlestown Primary School.  Our month of activities will include the inaugural Family Trivia slated for Saturday 27th at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre (NEPAC) commencing at 5 p.m.  Here again family members and members of the public, will be invited to show their support. The month will climax with the annual Seniors Gala at Occasions on Wednesday 31st.

I take this opportunity to urge family members to continue to care for and respect their elderly; cherish them, spend quality time with them; take them out but most importantly learn from them.

American Politician John Hoeven so succinctly sums it up when he noted “Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have.  Those who have walked before us have given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy.”

Once again I applaud the efforts of the Seniors Division for organizing the month of celebration of our seniors. I salute all seniors on the island during this your special month of celebration.  Happy International Day of Older Persons and Happy Seniors Month.

May God bless us all as we salute and celebrate our ‘Older Human Rights Champions’.

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