A special programme of activities in the month of October to honour older persons in the society was launched today, with a call for older ones to be given an opportunity to continue contributing to national development.
President of the National Council for Older Persons, Peter Fevrier, told the Times that October 1, 2016 has been designated by the United Nations as International Day for Older Persons.
“The reason for this is that it is recognized internationally that older persons are generally marginalized in most societies, a prejudice referred to as ageism,” Fevrier said.
He explained that in many cases older persons are not given the opportunity politically, economically and culturally to continue to take part in their communities.
Fevrier explained that this poses a major problem because worldwide millions of people are over the age of sixty.
“You can imagine that if all these people are ostracized or removed from the main stream what kind of problems we would encounter,” he stated.
Fevrier said it was important for Saint Lucia to address the problem of ageism.
“It is subtle and manifests itself in many forms, but we pay little attention to it,” the President of the Council for Older Persons observed.
He noted that once someone has attained the age of forty, most people feel they should take a back seat.
Fevrier said the same applies once someone has reached the age of retirement.
However he said that at the level of the National Council for Older Persons, the view is that there is a wealth of talent and experience among retirees.
Fevrier said as a result, an opportunity should be given to those individuals to continue contributing to the development of the society.
Local events to mark the month of activities in honour of the elderly will include a church service and lunch in Dennery, a radio panel discussion and an exhibition.
There will also be a beauty pageant featuring older persons.