(Observer)As Antigua and Barbuda joins in the observation of World Senior Citizens Day, yesterday, a prominent senior citizen is advocating for her peers to be shown more care and appreciation, specifically for the public to take the time to engage with them.
“Because they are in homes, because they are in their own homes … we see them as people who are not able, people who are sick,” Dame Eusalyn Lewis said on Observer AM, yesterday.
“They are not necessarily sick. They have a body of knowledge in their heads that they want to share,” she stated.
World Senior Citizens Day is celebrated by countries worldwide on August 21 every year.
One step towards remedying this situation, Dame Eusalyn indicated, is for individuals to make a list of elderly persons in the community and give them a call and check up on them.
“Make a list of the people who impacted your life somehow and even if it is once a week, once a month, once every six months, give them a call,” she stated.
She also encouraged the planning of enriching activities such as concerts and card games for those senior citizens who are able to engage in them.
As the shift from members of the older generation caring for young children continues, households are urged to ensure that these elderly persons are not feeling isolated nor unwanted.
“Nowadays we have daycare…and the role of grandmothers and…great aunts, those roles have diminished somewhat. But I think as families we can do a lot more to make them feel loved, wanted and respected,” she said.
Meanwhile, another senior, Peter Kelsick offered fellow senior citizens advice aimed at increasing the quality of their lives.
“Get into an active physical programme; It doesn’t have to be anything extreme but vitally important that you have a consistent profile in that you walk on a regular basis,” he said on the morning show. “Food is critical — what you put in makes a tremendous difference on your overall general health.”
Dame Eusalyn, 78, has contributed decades of service in various capacities including senior education officer, school principal, chief establishment officer, and Ombudsman, among others.
Kelsick is a former national cyclist who represented Antigua and Barbuda in the 1984 Summer Olympics. He is a fitness enthusiast who continued his love for cycling over the years, competing in the Masters category in various cycling competitions.
World Senior Citizens Day celebrates the contributions of the elderly and aims to raise awareness of issues affecting them.
According to reagan library.gov, it began in August 1988 as National Senior Citizen Day after President Ronald Reagan declared it as such. Since then, the day has been celebrated by countries across the world.
Senior citizen generally refers to an individual who is at least 60 or 65 years of age, who is retired in many instances. In the United States, the senior citizen population is divided into three sub-groups, namely young-old (aged 65 -74); middle-old (aged 75 -84); and old-old (over age 85).