The elderly are the true treasures in our communities and should be cherished, says parliamentarian Dale Marshall.
And it is for this reason that he has embarked on a programme to recognize senior citizens in St Joseph, the constituency he represents.
Louis Alleyne, a lively 103-year-old who is adored by her family and greatly respected in her small community of Branchbury No 3, was the first to be visited by Marshall and his team.
Choosing National Heroes Day to begin the programme, the former Attorney General said in the same way the country reflects on the deeds of its ten national heroes to uplift average Barbadians, he wanted St Joseph residents to reflect on the contribution and sacrifices made by their foreparents, like Alleyne, and to emulate them.
“In fact, it was the residents of Branchbury who gave this idea life when they asked me about recognizing Alleyne. She is a treasure to that community,” he said.
The MP said Alleyne, whose last birthday was in January, was also chosen because she is treated extremely well by her family and he wanted them highlighted as an example of what more Barbadian families should be doing.
“The care of our elderly is an aspect of Barbadian life that too many families are shirking away from, and that is not right. Louise’s relatives take great care of her, and for this they should be applauded,” Marshall said.
During his visit to the centenarian, Marshall presented her with a hamper of care items and nutritional supplements. He said she was so overwhelmed by the gesture that she cried and sang.
“It was quite touching. The fact that she started to cry meant it was very important to her. Seeing her happy like that made me feel really good. To be honest, I too began to get emotional as I have elderly parents,” said Marshall.
The parliamentary representative said that in a few weeks he will be celebrating the life of another centenarian in the parish.
“St Joseph has a wonderful history of people living past a century. There are about four or five of them right now. They are community treasures. I propose to visit them all and then other seniors,” he said.
The National Committee on Ageing, in a statement in May 2016, revealed there were 114 centenarians in Barbados and 48 others were expected to reach the milestone by the end of that year.