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‘Landmark’ charter sets out seniors’ rights

  • Ten articles: David Burt, the Premier, and Molly Burgess sign the charter of rights for the elderly yesterday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A charter of rights for seniors is a “landmark achievement” for Bermuda, the Premier said yesterday.

David Burt said: “Three overachieving themes drive the charter we have signed today — dignity, rights and responsibilities.

“As a society, we should be judged by how we take care of our most vulnerable.

“Today marks an important step in creating a greater awareness around a key and growing demographic in our community.”

He was speaking at the signing of the Bermudian charter of the rights and responsibilities of the elderly and adults in need of long-term care and assistance.

Mr Burt said that the charter included ten articles, including the right to dignity, physical and mental wellbeing, freedom and security; the right to self-determination and the right to high-quality and tailored care.

He added that the document was developed based on international and Bermudian standards and had been adapted from the European charter of the rights and responsibilities of older people in need of long-term care and assistance.

Mr Burt said that “significant input” had been provided by the Ministry of Health to make sure the charter would “complement existing regimes as intended”.

The Government’s goal is to “recognise and respect the rights of people who became more dependant on others due to ageing, illness or disability, and to ensure they lead lives of dignity and independence”.

The charter will be tabled in the House of Assembly on Friday.

Mr Burt signed the document with Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker and chairman of the Ageing Well Committee, and Molly Burgess, who represented Bermuda’s seniors.

The Premier said Ms Burgess was a “champion of the rights of workers and all people in this country”.

He added: “It is only right that her decades of fearless service are marked in this way.”

Mr Burgess said that the Government wanted to protect seniors from abuse.

He added: “Most times the abuse comes from someone that knows them.”

Fredrick Hassell, the director of the Bermuda Senior Islanders’ Centre, which hosted the event, thanked the Government “for regarding the rights of people who become dependent on others due to ageing, illness or disability”.

The Progressive Labour Party promised in its 2017 election platform to “review the laws to reflect international best practices to enact a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for seniors”.

To view the Bermudian Charter of the rights and responsibilities of the elderly and adults in need of long-term care and assistance, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”