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Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 03, 2018 (SKNIS): As St. Kitts and Nevis joins the international community in celebrating older persons, the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs, and Social Services, is saluting family members and other caregivers who continue to excel in caring for older persons in the twin-island Federation, and called for others to contribute to the cause. The United Nations has designated October 1 each year as International Day of Older Person. In St. Kitts and Nevis, the entire month of October is used to celebrate the country’s older persons.

On Wednesday’s edition of the government’s radio and television programme “Working for You”, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs, and Social Services, Janelle Lewis, said that the government employs homecare officers to look after older persons that require support during weekdays while family members are at work. She said that they do a commendable job in support of the family and called on community organizations and residents to lend a hand in the effort.

We need to have support for caregivers because sometimes it can be quite a challenge for persons who are looking after their older relatives, especially those who are suffering from illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, ”  she stated. “There needs to be a support system for the caregivers whether it is other family members, church community, or neighbours. Sometimes caregivers themselves just need a little respite, a little day off, when somebody else can come in and take over some of the responsibilities for the day.”

This message and others, including the valuable contributions of older persons in national development, and the lessons that can be learnt from senior citizens, will be highlighted during the month-long observance. The theme is: “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions.” Notable activities include a street parade in Nevis on October 05; movie night on October 25; and dinner at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel on October 28.

Director of the Department of Social and Community Development, Ann Wigley, expressed appreciation to the private partners who have contributed to the celebration of older persons over the years. She singled out S. L. Horsfords and Co. Ltd. as the largest corporate supporter and also mentioned the local banks, St. Kitts Scenic Railway, St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority, Ashbury’s, the Rotary Club, Sun Island Clothes, and Best for Less. Ms. Wigley also thanked the bus drivers, homecare officers, and Mervyn Sage of the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service for their invaluable support.

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