Thursday, July 05, 2012


Putting the Gold in Golden Years

Lately, I.'ve had  occasion to spend time with some senior citizens. These octogenarians  were folks who had made immense contributions to nation  building. Yet, from speaking with them it was obvious that deep seated loneliness was another common thread in their lives. Many of them live alone, seemingly forgotten  by society and dependent on the kindness of strangers to help with basic tasks. For me it was a stark glimpse of how harsh the aging process could be.

When we are  young we hardly think of the challenges of growing old. Our bodies will slow down, eyesight will dim, hearing would not be as sharp as it once was and the list goes on. As if it's not bad enough that our bodies will betray us the aging process will also rob us of much that is familiar. Children will grow up and move away to start their own lives. Loved ones and friends will die reducing the connections we once held  dear. Loneliness becomes acute with the lack of close companionship and  with a dwindling pool of contemporaries it is easy to feel isolated.

How then do we put the golden our senior citizens golden years? I thought long and hard about it and I believe we have to start by acknowledging their worth and treating them like the precious jewels they are. Listen to them, even though you have heard the story one hundred times before. Be patient, there is nothing I hate more than to see people shouting at or tugging the aged. We should remember they are neither as agile as we are nor their hearing as sharp. Talk to them like the adults they are not in the patronizing tones some of us use. Seek their advice, they have a wealth of experience from which others can learn. Organise social activities where a group of  seniors can gather and mingle with their peers. Are you willing for the challenge? I am.

A wonderful piece. Earlier today I listened briefly to a Radio program on NPR discussing the same issue. It also looked at the challenges that children face while caring for their aging parents. Surprisingly much of what you discussed were also mentioned.
Thanks Norman. It is something that bothers me and a glimpse of my future. We really have to take time for our senior citizens
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