His Excellency Charles Savarin at an Independence Day Parade
His Excellency Charles Savarin at an Independence Day Parade

President of Dominica, His Excellency Charles Angelo Savarin told Dominicans last week that although visits to senior citizens are restricted because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, we must "find ways to stay socially connected" to elders in our community.

"We all understand the reason why we cannot pay in-person visits to our elders, so let us make a concerted effort to talk to them every day so they do not feel alone," President Savarin said. "Each and every one of us should also pledge support for the various civil society organizations that are providing nursing and social care to our older persons, and let our efforts be counted.

"I urge all the voluntary and civil society organizations to continue to recruit more hands to aid in their respective quests to support and protect our elders and to see to it that they continue to live happy and comfortably lives".

President Savarin spoke on DBS radio in an address to the nation on 1st October, International Day of Older Persons.

The theme for IDOP 2020 was: "Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?"

President Savarin said that the theme was relevant because "older persons are most susceptible to the threats and challenges of this pandemic," he said. "While all age groups are at risk of contracting COVID-19, as advised by the public health experts, older persons face greater risk of developing severe illness if they contract this life-threatening disease due to physical challenges which come with ageing and the many underlying health conditions of older persons".

President Savarin noted that the population of older person is growing rapidly and it is prediction that by 2030 there will be more persons aged 60 or over (approximately 1.4 billion), than children under the age of ten.

"The experts have postulated that developing countries like ours, will see the greatest and most rapid rise in the older person's population, thus making population ageing one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century," he said.

Meanwhile, on Thursday evening there was a sterling performance by Dominica's top Gospel artiste and prolific song writer, the world travelled and versatile Gerry Lloyd who brought the curtain down on the Dominica Council on Aging (DCOA) organized Month of the Elderly.

Other performers included Nigel Lawrence the First, Lady S, the Wai'tumusic singers, as well as Dominica's Lady of Song, Ophelia. Fred Nicholas managed the backup band while Prince Wadix was the MC. The DCOA virtual Gospel Show combined moments of praise and celebration for the small attending audience which braved the weather as well as those viewing various social media platforms.