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

Dominicans must devote time to care for the elderly, especially those who are, unfortunately, disabled and poor and inadequately uncared for.

President of Dominica, Charles Angelo Savarin, told listeners to his annual Month-of-the Elderly address on Monday, that Dominicans must pay homage to the elderly and celebrate their works and their dreams.

"They have shown resilience, they have persevered, they have each in their own way laid the ground works for the next generations to build upon," he said.

President Savarin said incidents of abuse of elderly persons are a worldwide phenomenon that must be condemned by everyone.

"Today as the world struggles with the growing dark cloud of neglect and abuse that older persons are enveloped in, we in Dominica must continue to engage in all ways possible to identify such ills, if and where they exist, to see to it that our older persons are treated with dignity and respect," President Savarin said. "We must be vigilant, act decisively and in a timely manner. If you see something is going wrong, do something to set it right".

The annual observance of the Month of the Elderly is one of the major events in the calendar of the Dominica Council on Aging (DCOA). It began with an address to the nation by President Savarin. This year the DCOA is celebrating its Silver Jubilee, 25 years as the premier organisation advocating on behalf of the elderly.

"Twenty-five years of continuous service is an accomplishment worthy of note and, therefore its leaders and general membership, all whom have worked hard over the years to keep this organization alive, must be commended. It is therefore in order to encourage the Dominica Council on Ageing (DCOA), to continue to shine as an exemplary advocate and trail-blazer of Older Persons' causes for another 25 years and beyond," President Savarin said.

Among activities for the 2019 edition of the Month of the Elderly include Grand Parents Day in Communities on 8th September; DCOA National Seniors Games at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium on 22 September and Love our Seniors Youth Workshop on 24th September.

The theme for the month of the elderly is "Pioneers of Resilience: Journey to Age Equality".

"It is this Dominican spirit of all-inclusiveness and of making special provisions for the elderly that must, and has prevailed, among this nation and has made us a country where older persons are considered a valuable natural treasure and where our centenarian per capita ratio is among the highest in the region, if not the world," President Savarin said adding "The global population of Older Persons, that is, persons over 60 years, stands at approximately 700 million. Predictions are that by 2050 that number will rise to 2 billion or 20 percent of the world's population. We in Dominica are a young nation with an ageing population and proportionately the same world scenario applies to our Dominica. We must therefore continue to grow more cognizant of such trends and the attendant challenges".

Current DCOA president Ophelia Marie said the theme is relevant to Dominica because "if we look at it, we know we are resilient largely because of what our ancestors, the people that came before us, taught us- how to live, how to economize, how to stick to things that are natural, how to be cognizant of the Higher Power."