Elderly Citizens Petition Legislature

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Some of the elderly people, mainly women, take their placards with with different inscriptions to the Capitol Building

In continuation of the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons, which was globally observed on October 1, the Coalition and Advocates for the Elderly in Liberia (COCAEL) has petitioned the House of Representatives to establish the National Old Folks Commission to provide a nursing home’ for the elderly.

Over 200 elderly citizens, especially women, submitted the petition to the House’s Committee on Claims and Petition chairperson, Rustonlyn Suakoko Dennis, on Thursday, October 4, 2019.

COCAEL secretary-general, Aaron G. Paul, said the elderly citizens are about 170,000 comprising 16 registered catering institutions or homes.

He said when the National Old Folks Commission is established, it would provide shelter, feeding, medication and transportation for the elderly.

He said on Tuesday, October 2, 2019, Liberia joined other countries to celebrate the International Older Persons Day, which the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish on December 14, 1990, to be observed on October 1 each year as the International Day of Older Persons as recorded in UN Resolution 45/106.

He said the universal holiday was observed for the first time on October 1, 1991, around the world.

Paul said it was celebrated by raising awareness on issues affecting the elderly, such as senescence and older abuse. He called on Liberians to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society, instead of describing them with all sorts of names.

Montserrado County District #11 Representative Richard Koon submitted the National Old Folks Bill in 2018.

The bill is currently with a specialized committee.

Meanwhile, Rep. Dennis has thanked the elderly for presenting the petition, which he promised to forward to the Plenary for discussion after returning in January 2020.

Ma Hawa Dukuly, 67, spoke of the need for shelter homes because many of their homes are leaking, and, most time, they eat only once a day.

Mother Lucy Jones, 71, said if the government does not help them, some of them would die of hunger.

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