Barbadians are being encouraged to place families at the forefront of all their actions.
This call has come from Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, in a statement ahead of International Day of Families, which will be celebrated tomorrow.
Blackett urged families to “cherish every moment spent together, and build loving and strong foundations that will further enhance our values and morals”.
He stressed that it was important for families to work together at home as well as in the community.
“There is a need, more so now than ever … for families across communities to develop networks and for persons to work across different age cohorts to provide necessary care and support to each other,” Blackett asserted.
The minister advised that it was not the time for individualism and selfishness to surface, but suggested that the sharing of limited resources and knowledge was vital.
“All attempts must be made to include all those bona fide persons willing to contribute to the enhancement, empowerment and development of families in our policies, strategies and interventions.
“Every sector can play its part by encouraging inter-generational programmes which allow the elderly population to actively interact with the younger population in the sharing of ideas and experiences and/or by simply spending quality time together,” Blackett added.
Alluding to the constantly ageing population, he noted that changes in demographics and the socio-economic status had caused older relatives to either live alone or in nursing homes, thus severely impacting on the traditional extended family structure.
“I implore those family members that if it is not possible to take them [the elderly] out for any length of time, to at least make an effort to visit them… Our elderly population should not be shut off or forgotten,” he asserted.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Families is Advancing Social Integration and Inter-generational Solidarity.