That day will come — if you're lucky!

Jean Lowrie-Chin

Monday, June 10, 2019

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Yes, indeed, if you are lucky you will be counted among the elderly one day. And so, regardless of our age, it serves us well to be interested in the care and protection of the elderly. This digital age can dehumanise our relationships if we are not careful. So, while it's great that your grandma is on Facebook , take the time to let her hear the voice that makes her heart soar – yours.

Your making time for your elders may very well be assuring your care in old age — as your children learn more from your example than from anything you tell them. Moreover, the stories that our elders have to share will keep your children grounded and more understanding and valuing their heritage. Stories of sacrifices to ensure the well-being of their families will help children to appreciate the contribution made by elders to their own development.

The wisdom which comes with age is a treasure that we should encourage our children to respect. Our elders have braved many obstacles, experienced goodness, as well as negativity, in their encounters. Discussions with their elders will help children to navigate difficult circumstances at school and in the workplace.

The debate continues regarding who is a senior and who is an elder. I have been advised that you become a senior at 65 and an elder at 80. We should be careful of ageism however, as most seniors are as active as ever. We have been delighted to recommend our Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) members for positions in various organisations, and to receive feedback that they are outstanding in their performance. Think about it, many over-60s are up with the digital age and have a wealth of experience. They are a boon to the workplace, while some, like our CCRP Northeast Jamaica convenor Pixley Irons, run their own successful businesses.

Minister Robinson's call

CCRP had a good day last Friday when Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson launched our Northeast Jamaica Chapter. Our convenor Pixley Irons, immediate past president of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce, and President Vana Taylor hosted the event at their John McDowell Conference Centre.

Minister Robinson reminded us that her ministry's green paper, proposing a revised policy for the elderly, will have two public sessions in Mandeville and Kingston this month, and she is urging the public to attend and participate in ensuring what she describes as “an all-embracing policy which will, in a comprehensive way, seek to address the issues affecting our seniors in a more effective and purposeful manner.

The minister emphasised that individuals over 60 who would like to benefit from the assistance of the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) should register with their parish offices. The NCSC assists in enrolling senior citizens in the National Health Fund, the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme, and the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). She lauded the over 3,000 volunteers who assist the NCSC in their work and appealed for more, bearing in mind the help that must be offered to the 12,000 shut-ins who are registered with the NCSC.

In commenting on the scourge of elder abuse, she said “If these matters are not reported to the police for action, then certainly they will continue to take place… What, in effect, we need is for the communities to be more vigilant and that instances of abuse are reported either to the council or to the police.”

In congratulating CCRP on the launch of the newest chapter, the minister said that it “speaks to your desire to enhance your membership and to offer the services to a wider cross section of Jamaicans… The Government recognises the worth of organisations such as this in mobilising support and creating assistance for such persons. There is no political regime that can ever fulfil all the needs of everyone.”

The minister noted that Jamaica was seeing an increasing number of centenarians, which her ministry lauded in an advertisement on Centenarians' Day, May 24, listing the 168 centenarians that they have on record. “Interestingly,… in St Ann the ministry celebrated with three centenarians, all living in the same household,” she said. We had read reports of the event in Content Gardens — Melvin Scott and his wife Icilda are 100 and 101 years old, respectively. Icilda's sister Evelyn Gibson celebrated her 104th birthday on May 23.

It was great to catch up with the good folks who packed the centre for the meeting. Among them were St Ann Chamber of Commerce Past President Jeanne Dixon, emcee Joan McDonald, Joyce Tweedie-McDowell, Denyse Perkins, Chyna Whyne, Lorna Davis, Earl Robb-Brown, Evelyn Sangster, and Iva Walters. The Northeast Jamaica Chapter will serve members in St Ann, St Mary, and Portland, and has a part-time desk courtesy of the St Ann Chamber.


The US Embassy in Jamaica is celebrating Caribbean-American Heritage Month with a Film Festival offering viewings in locations islandwide. The first film, presented in Kingston last Thursday, was hosted by Public Affairs Counselor Jeremiah Knight, and team members Bernadette Hutchinson, Shayzan McBeam, Derie Gilzeane, and Cleo Walker-Smith.

Home Againas a moving journey of three individuals deported to Jamaica, having grown up in the US, Canada and the UK.

The next stop for the film festival is in Mandeville at 1.30pm this Thursday.

Cheering our Reggae Girlz

We are off to cheer on the Reggae Girlz, so this column will take a break and return with great stories of Paris and Lyon. We are part of a group of 60, so viewers should see a lot of black, green and gold in the stands. Whatever the outcome, the history-making fact is that our Reggae Girlz are there at the Women's World Cup, and that gives us much to celebrate.

Happy Fathers' Day!

Happy Father's Day to those many caring Jamaican fathers who are making such a difference in their children's lives. A special shout-out to my Hubie Chin, the whiz for maths and science homework, and the do-it-yourself hero of our children.

To those dads who are more absent than present, you are missing out on the greatest joy in your lives. May you find out sooner rather than later.

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