Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (right), chats with (from left)??Chairperson of the National Committee on Aging, Maizie Barker-Welch and President of the Barbados Alzheimers Asscociation, Pamelia Brereton, after the March.

Everyone should be involved in addressing the issue of elder abuse, if it is to be eliminated from our island.

That is the view of Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who was speaking last weekend at the end of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day March, in Independence Square.

Noting that it was not enough to frown on abuse of the elderly, Dr. Byer Suckoo said that "we have a serious responsibility to bring it to an end".

Pointing out that there was a need to "determine the magnitude of the problem" in light of the disturbing trends that needed "urgent attention", she stated: "We first have to increase awareness of the issue so that society adopts zero tolerance whenever it emerges.?? Members of the community, the police force and government departments must treat this as a serious matter and act urgently."

The Minister also spoke of the various measures that would be put in place to assist the elderly in coping with the ageing process and its inherent challenges.??

"Government has pledged to ensure that there is sufficient income, health care, and social services for all older adults. It is our intention that caregiver training and services will be intensified to facilitate positive and productive aging. We will also encourage the incorporation of assertiveness training, promotion of elder rights and self-advocacy training for older adults to be an integral part of activities of senior citizens’ organisations," she indicated.

Noting that there were some beliefs that made it easier for elder abuse to continue without detection or intervention, the Minister recommended that persons rid themselves of such views.

"These factors include the devaluation and lack of respect for older adults and society’s belief that what goes on in the home similar to domestic violence is a private, ???family matter’.????

"We have to discount these beliefs and reinstall the value that we are our brother’s keeper and encourage compassion if we are to be successful in combating elder abuse," Dr. Byer Suckoo stressed.??

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