Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 12, 2016 (SKNIS): Persons in society were encouraged to desist from disrespecting older persons, especially as we celebrate the Month of Older Persons, as they are seen as gems to be cherished for their past and present contribution to nation building.
The Month of Older Persons is observed every October. This year’s theme “Take a Stand against Ageism”, with the sub-theme “60+ Counts” was drawn from the United Nations’ (UN’s) official celebration of International Day of Older Persons on October 1, 2016, and is meant to draw attention to and challenge the practice of ageism.
“In our society we are seeing a lot of the idea about persons not really respecting our seniors. That is a big thing,” said Ann Wigley, Deputy Director of Social Development, during Wednesday’s (October 12) edition of “Working for You”, while adding that it is imperative to look after and care for older persons, as it is a practice that has been known for years.
This year’s theme in commemoration of the Month of Older Persons was given high commendation by the Deputy Director as she noted that it is quite fitting.
“This theme really hit home, that we must take a stand against ageism. For example, in our society now, we are having so many persons who are living much longer and other persons are wondering what they did, what they eat and what they are doing to be surviving,” she said. “We will really have to have a reservoir of this information that we can give to our younger folks [so] that they must eat right, work hard and they must sleep well and keep away from stress. Working hard does not hurt, being lazy makes you sick and that is the encouragement that the seniors will give you.”
Deputy Director Wigley explained the rationale behind moving away from referring to older persons as elderly.
“That came some years ago when persons felt discriminated [against] when you say that old woman, that old man,” she said. “The persons, the older ones look at that as being pushed aside. So we say older persons to make it sound like any other word. I think that 60 [years] is the benchmark, you begin to come into that bracket from 60 plus.”
She appealed to persons to be sensitive to older persons as they too have feelings. She encouraged them to use words that are appropriate and that will be well-received.