Barbadian youth are being urged to be sensitive to the needs, challenges and perspectives of the elderly.
This point was underscored last Friday by Medical Officer of Health (South), Dr. Karen Broome, as she spoke to a group of 14-16-year-old students from Princess Margaret, Christ Church Foundation, Deighton Griffith and the Lodge Schools.
The half-day forum was held at the Reginald Lewis Auditorium of the Princess Margaret Secondary School at Six Roads, St. Philip, under the theme, Appreciating the Elderly.??
Dr. Broome encouraged the students, particularly as they lived in a country which has the second-highest percentage of centenarians in the world, to place themselves in the shoes of the elderly and understand the challenges of ageing.?? "We must recognise that the elderly also have a right to work and participate in recreation and exercise programmes allowing them to get the most out of their lives and bodies.?? They should not be made to feel ostracised or plagued with feelings of loneliness," she shared.
Organised by the St. Philip District Hospital and the National Assistance Board, the pilot seminar sought to educate the youth on how best to care for elderly grandparents and relatives; ways in which they could assist the elderly to remain active parts of their community; how to recognise the signs of elder abuse; and guidance on their physical and emotional needs.
"Growing old and catering to the aged is a highly specialised and demanding job.?? For this reason, the importance of the role of caregiver, be it family member, friend or nurse must not be minimised," Dr. Broome explained.?? She, therefore, urged the students not to practise ageism; that is discrimination against people of specific ages.