The Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, has advised Barbadians against casting off the elderly in their old age and forsaking them when their strength fails.
Blackett made this plea today while addressing the congregation at the Vauxhall Methodist Church, Vauxhall, Christ Church, as Barbadians joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Noting that Barbados was the first country in the Caribbean with more than 10 per cent of its population being classified as elderly, the St Michael Central Member of Parliament disclosed that the National Assistance Board (NAB) was working collaboratively with stakeholders to prevent elderly abuse.
Blackett said there were concerns that elderly people, especially women, often faced multiple forms of discrimination which were compounded by age, disability or other circumstances.
The Minister of Social Care revealed that the NAB, in conjunction with the Planning Committee for Activities for Older Persons, had created a National Protocol for the Prevention, Reporting, Investigation and Management of Elder Abuse.
Blackett said: “This protocol, along with the recently passed National Policy on Aging, endeavours to safeguard the rights of older persons, procure legal protection where it is now provided and help to create an environment that is safe and free from exploitation and abuse”.
He invited everyone to love, respect and protect the elderly who would have survived the dehumanizing social and economic environment of the pre-Independence period, as well as contributed to the development of the country during their working life.