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Where are we headed

Fred Wesley
Thursday, November 30, 2017

THE Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has raised a point that should be a concern for right thinking people.

It has expressed concern about what it says is the rise in the number of elderly people being pushed onto the streets.

Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Veena Bhatnagar highlighted this yesterday, saying the ministry was aware of the issue and was working on ways to address it.

The ministry, she said, wanted people and the media to help locate those affected.

"Sometimes we miss out on these people if we are not aware of this, then we cannot go and assist them. So basically, if you know about it, please let the ministry know about this and we will definitely look after them and take action," Ms Bhatnagar said.

The ministry's beggar operation, she said, was also working on identifying and assisting people on the streets.

She reiterated the roles of families in ensuring elderly people were kept safe.

It is unfortunate that we have this issue to contend with.

However, it isn't only confined to Fiji.

When we consider the revelation by the ministry, surely we would have to ask the question about whether ageism is alive in our society.

It makes sense to consider the notion that we may be stereotyping people based on their ages.

So are some of us guilty of the fact that we look at the elderly as just that, old?

If that is the case then we are unfair and inconsiderate because we are then guilty of disregarding their contribution to society, whatever that may have been over the years. In the face of that scenario then, how can we even begin to contemplate what runs through the minds of many of our elders, especially those neglected by their very own families?

It is a fact of life that in time, the elderly can quickly feel irrelevant as leaders around them become younger.

We are supposed to be people with cultures and traditions that value our elderly.

The fact that there is even concern about the rising number of elderly people pushed out on the streets is shocking.

Where have we gone wrong? Are economic considerations overpowering?

Clearly what we perceive to be the right thing to do isn't happening for some of us.

Again, if this is the case, then where is the family support we ask?

Strong families have the potential to build strong communities, and the roll on effect higher up the chain can have a positive impact on our nation.

Let us consider what the ministry has outlined, reach out, and play our part to address this troubling scenario.

For those families who embrace their elderly, giving them love and care, and making them feel relevant, we say thank you.

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