Kaelyn Fleming: Black History Month Essay

February 28, 2021

[Written by Berkeley Institute student Kaelyn Fleming, who received an honourable mention in the Conyers Black History Month Essay Competition]

Dr. Claudette Fleming has been an advocate for seniors for 20 years. She started working at Age concern in July of 2006, working at a cubical as a lone employee. Now, she has a well-developed team of employees which she employed herself. She gained her PhD. in 2016 and has been work diligently to help seniors in every way she can which includes fighting for changes in law.

In 2016, Fleming fought to include age discrimination as a bases of discrimination. She succeeded and age discrimination became illegal in Bermuda. She also fought to do away with forced retirement. She, and Minister Jason Hayner BPSU challenged the law regarding the dismissal of government workers at the age of 65 years old. Their mission was a success, and they were able to extend the mandatory retirement age to 68 years old.[bernews.bm]

Fleming also went in front of the press on behalf of the seniors of Bermuda in 2010 in order to resolve the issue of overpriced healthcare for seniors, also known as ‘The Future Care Act’. She made the press statement, “Age Concern has endorsed the concept of Future Care since its inception as we recognize the challenge that seniors were facing trying to find affordable healthcare coverage that went beyond the basic level of care that the Hospital Insurance Plan [HIP] was providing.” and, “We cannot support the increase of Future Care premiums at any level.” She also say that she is concerned not only for the seniors but for their children. “The average skilled nursing home cost approximately $10,000 a month, without the proper financing and support in place, our children will be faced with the astronomical costs of supporting aging relatives, during the same time that they are paying off mortgages , educating their own children and saving for their own retirement.”[bermudasun.bm]

Fleming argued for better standards for senior care in October 2016 as well. She worked with the Bermuda National Standards Committee and has successfully started convincing facilities to start signing up for certification and accreditation. Due Dr Fleming’s diligence, as of 2016, two facilities have officially gotten certification and five are still in the process. [royalgazette.com]

Dr. Claudette Fleming plans to be an advocate for seniors until she is 70 years old. She says that she will continue to fight for better nursing homes and even wants to build her own residential care facility, one with dignity, independence, and the priority of the resident’s well-being. She is thankful for the sacrifices that her family have and for the help of God. Without her, there is no telling where the future of seniors citizens would be.

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In the Conyers Black History Month Essay Competition students were asked to “discuss the contributions made by a Black heroine or hero to Bermuda’s legal system in a maximum of 1,500 words.”

“The aim of the essay competition was to honour Black Bermudians who have made a significant contribution to Bermuda’s legal system and to inspire young Bermudians to forge their own path in Bermuda’s legal field,” Conyers said.

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Category: All, History