The elderly are a treasure to our society. Getting old is an inevitable process for all living creatures. It is the truth that we all need to accept. Along with old age comes maturity, wisdom and responsibility. The elderly are precious. They are most respected because they are a storehouse of knowledge. Who teaches us about customs, traditions, and respect for all living things? They teach us to live on their lived experiences in order to avoid stumbling and falling.
By being with and caring for them, we learn patience and tolerance. They teach us how to face life since they have lived a life of hardship with its ups and downs. We live our lives based on their lived experiences. They love to share their happiest moments of life to enrich and enlighten us. They are very deep and teach us to look at things at a deeper level. The elderly help us to look at others as well as ourselves differently — in a positive way. By being with the elderly, we learn our identity and also discover who we really are. Their presence makes us become more self-aware and wise. They are the ones who teach us how to walk, talk, and love; how to admire; and how to forgive and accept one another. It is our bounden duty to look after our elderly who have sacrificed their entire lives for the upbringing of their children.
It is very important to take care of our elderly in the family and in society. Let us support them in their pain, sorrow and loneliness. In today’s society, the elderly need the love, care, togetherness, and presence of their children and grandchildren.
But it is heartbreaking to see the sad plight of most of our elderly as they grow older, they become burden to the young. The young have no time for their elderly parents and grandparents as they are busy with money making. The elderly just long for someone to talk to them, listen to them, love them and care for them.
My humble request to the young is to please support your old parents. They need your love, support, care and affection. Kindly remember that “We Reap What We sow”. Knowingly or unknowingly, all that we do is setting an example for our siblings too. An expression of respect and gratitude towards our elderly is a great example for our future generation. When the young see you taking care of your own parents and grandparents, they get motivated to take care of you in the future. Won’t you like to make the world a beautiful place?
“Listen to your elder’s advice. Not because they are always right but because they have more experiences of being wrong.” – Melchor Lim
Growing and ageing is a natural process that every individual experiences. As we grow, we encounter various negative and positive experiences that change our perception of life.
Traditionally, in India, elderly people have always been revered by the younger generation by touching their feet. Elderly people have always been the treasure of our families. However, in the modern society of the 21st century, not only has the number of elderly people increased, but also the cases of the elderly being abused, harassed, and abandoned in India have soared up. Most of the children are now leaving their parents alone or are sending them to old-age homes.
Most of them fail to understand the importance of elderly people in society. They are the ones who preserve the traditional and cultural values present in any ethnic group or community. Without them teaching the younger generation about their culture, the diversity of traditions and cultures in India would have been long lost during the time of colonization.
Moreover, the elderly are like the roots of a tree. They hold on to the family firmly at all times and make them strong. They are the ideal mentors. From all the experience they have accumulated over the years, they can judge a situation and give constructive advice to their children. They also play an important role in solving disputes among the family members. Elderly people play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. They spend time with them, play with them, and teach them important rules and values of life in the form of stories. The stories that they tell have a positive impact on the young minds of children. They also provide a safe and loving environment for children to grow in, which is something that no child care centre can provide.
In general, they are a form of blessing for all of us. They are the greatest treasures of the family, society, and nation. They have an immense ocean of knowledge, experience, and wisdom that serves as a guidepost for the younger generation. But, nowadays, people have started to view elderly people as a burden. They believe that the elderly no longer have the ability to learn new things, which is far from the truth. According to research, the human brain never stops growing. The loss in reaction time and brain activity leads to a gain in decision making and insights. Hence, the elderly are less likely to respond thoughtlessly to negative emotional stimuli and are more in control of their emotions.
Moreover, they can focus on what matters in life. They realise that time goes by fast and the value of things that are important in life becomes clear. They can offer a distinctive perspective on every problem, as this is something that only time can teach us. Aside from this, many universal truths remain regardless of one’s era. We may have entered an era that was nothing more than a fantasy world, but this was only possible because of the teachings of our elders.
Family situations and financial position do play a part in influencing the lives of the elderly. Some are fortunate to live with their children or within their reach in the same city or town. They lead a relatively satisfied life. The longer the distance, the greater their feelings of insecurity and loneliness. If the children are within the country, the parents are fairly satisfied—they can visit them or the children can come home for occasions like marriages and festivals. The pangs of separation and the fear of loneliness, on the other hand, increase if the children live abroad. Thus, the elderly’s lives are situation-dependent.
- The presence of relatives and old-age homes, however comfortable, cannot provide for emotional needs. Some people overcome the blues by taking recourse to cultural and social activities, but others suffer silently. Low income and poor health aggravate the misery.
- Thus raises the question of whether senior citizens are an asset or liability to their families and society at large. My answer is that they are undoubtedly an asset if they have the right attitude to life. The present-day elderly truly represent the generation of the pre-Independence era known for a value-based life. They were accomplished, humble, honest, and competent in most areas of what they were taught. Most senior citizens are highly experienced. They can contribute tremendously to the welfare of society. Their service can be for free or for a nominal fee.
- A strong forum of senior citizens from various walks of life can provide coaching and counselling to students, youth, and women to help them deal with day-to-day problems. The elderly have the responsibility to guide the youth and inculcate the most-needed confidence in them.