(CMR) The Council of Older Persons, in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Government, will launch Age Proud Cayman, a grassroots public education and awareness campaign, starting this week to help challenge implicit bias and dispel stereotypes around aging.
Age Proud is an annual global campaign that seeks to change the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions about aging throughout local communities and on a national level. The Cayman Islands is among a number of cities and countries across the world that is localizing the movement.
In announcing the launch of the campaign, Chairperson of the Council of Older Persons, Lucille Dell Seymour stated, “We are excited to be part of a global campaign that celebrates older persons, who are a big part of Cayman’s community. Cayman’s older residents are so vibrant with so much to give. They have strong experiences, culture, and voices that need to be shared.”
“The Cayman Islands Older Persons Policy advocates for the rights of older persons to live with dignity and have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of life. In support of the Policy, the Age Proud Cayman campaign will seek to end outdated perceptions and ageist attitudes that prevent too many of us from making the most of our longer lives. It is our goal to help create a more age-friendly society that perceives aging positively,” Seymour further emphasized.
Ninety-one-year-old Naomi Iris Walton from Spot Bay, Cayman Brac, one of the older persons who will be featured in the campaign, explained her joy in being involved.
“I am proud to be a part of this campaign. I still have so much to give and look forward to seeing my peers show the Islands what it means to age proud and strong,” she said.
Premier Hon Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who oversees the Council of Older Persons, applauded the work of the Council Members and the time spent to deploy such a critical message.
“The stories of real people matter. It is important for older people to have a platform where their voices, stories, and experiences are included in the solutions. The Council reframing aging through this campaign challenges us as a country to recognize our older persons as contributors to society, and what we want our own aging experience to look like. It helps us counter stereotypes we may not even realise we have about ageing that can potentially hold people back; so that we can all look forward to an optimal aging experience no matter how old we are,” she said.
The campaign will run on various social media platforms for over a year and feature local older persons who disprove negative stereotypes of later life. The key objectives of the campaign are to highlight available resources for older persons and their families so as to help reduce inequalities they may experience, increase platforms for the aging population to celebrate their age and stories, restore the tradition of respecting older persons in the community and educate the public about the role of the Council of Older Persons.
Commenting on the importance of the campaign, the Council’s Deputy Chairperson Sarah Alice Mae Coe said, “We want to progress and evolve the dialogue around aging and make sure that the images and stories we share help magnify what it means to age with dignity, respect, and strength here in the Cayman Islands. Older Caymanians have brought, and continue to bring, so much to this country, and we want to reinvigorate a community that embraces and treasures them. This is why you won’t find any stock images in our campaign – it is all local, authentic and good old-fashioned Caymanian admiration for our elders.”
Members of the public can participate by using the hashtag #AgeProudCayman and visit www.gov.ky/olderpersonscouncil to learn more.