Nassau, The Bahamas — Students are competing in an essay contest that is the brainchild of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development and the Urban Renewal Program.
Students will be explaining how they would want to be treated as older persons.
“During the month of October each year, we highlight the accomplishments and concerns of the elderly, so this year we decided to get the kids involved,” said Rosemary Bain, Assistant Director for the Department of Social Services, Senior Citizens Division.
“We want to sensitize the youth to the plight of the elderly and of the contributions they have made, as well as the respect that we think they deserve,” she added.
The winning essays will be announced and read at the National Performing Arts Center on Shirley Street on October 3, 2010 at 3 pm.
Students residing in all areas of the nine Urban Renewal Centres are invited to participate in the competition and the deadline for entries is September 22.
The essays will be judged on how well the students offer solutions to eradicate the abuse and exploitation of the elderly.
“We want them to go out and explore books and research on the Internet and to come up with what they think should be done,” said Mrs Bain.
“But the main thing is we want them to do it; it is not going to be an exercise for a parent, guardian, or and older sister or brother sitting down and doing for them.
She added, “We want to tease their minds and for them to say to us, ‘if I were the Minister of Labour and Social Development, this is what I would do to eradicate abuse of the elderly and exploitation.'”
The Ministry chose the topic due to the rise in daily reports it receives of abuse and the exploitation of seniors from around The Bahamas.
Mrs Bain explained that the Ministry wanted to sensitize youths to the plights of older persons.
The Ministry believes that the exercise will help young persons prevent abuse from happening to their loved ones and to themselves. Students will also learn how to plan early for the transition into the senior stage of life and how to guarantee personal and financial security when the time arrives.
“Commonly family members and caregivers are the people the elderly trust and once we reach a certain age, we are very vulnerable. It is the people that we trust that are the ones that abuse us,” said Mrs Bain.
“We are hearing stories almost everyday about the National Insurance funds that now go to the bank. The older persons used to just go to the hall and pick it up.
“Many of the older persons do not have the skills to write or do a withdrawal, so they give that task to a grandchild or one of their children, and then what do you see happening, the exploitation of their funds,” Mrs Bain said.
Bahamas Information Services