The age group of 60 and above are often regarded as old aged folks/senior citizens. They have their own rights, their queues are shorter, sometimes they get a seat even in the most crowded of places. They are treated with great respect or sometimes not even paid attention to. Some senior citizens live a healthy, well loved, fed, and cared for life, while some unlucky senior citizens are even rejected from their own homes, by their own children, they do not deserve such treatment. And such treatment to their old parents is no less than any ill treatment. They should be given justice.
They were once young, full of life, strong, and independent. They once thought that the world was in their hands. They once had those tender, flawless skin that now looks wrinkly and loose. Altered size trousers, and elderly apparel is what they wear. Yes, I’m talking about the old aged folks, they were once respected for who they are and not merely because of ‘old people should be respected’ sake. As a little girl, I have read a lot of topics, poems, about youth and age written by famous poets and writers, and I would always wonder why do old aged homes even exist? As I grew up, I began to understand that old aged homes are mandatory, for there are many old folks that need help, care and attention. I wonder less (not that I don’t care) about the old people who have lost the last living member of their family, their stay in such homes is completely comprehensible. But, what about those folks who are denied from their own homes, forsaken by their own children?
I believe that it is us, mature adults who should be taking care of our parents, grandparents and so on, and we ought to do so, it is our sole duty to look after them and not hand them over to some home that are not theirs.We are indebted to our old parents for bringing us up, for nurturing us, since we were little till the time we can finally stand on our own, it is them who have always watched and supported every step we take, meanwhile correcting the wrong steps, it is them who held our hands and who taught us how to write. On the other hand, when it is the time for exchanging roles, we are running away from it. When it is the time for us to hold their weak hands and be their walking stick, when it is the time to lend them our shoulder when they are weary and lonely, when it is the time to fill in their curiosity, we are turning a deaf ear towards them. Why do we make them feel that they are a burden to us, when they are actually blessings. For all I remembered, they would even answer to our silly questions like “what is the name of the cow”to “what is the police uncle holding”,and now look at us, we cannot even answer their one caring meaningful question, “where are you going”.Why are we so indifferent towards their existence? Why are we so ignorant of the fact that our tables will turn someday, when our own children would consider us as a burden, when our own children would consider our excretal wastes as disgusting.
Our old parents have spent all their lives for our family, making our house liveable, making our house into a home. So, when they need our support, mentally, emotionally and physically we should be more than ready to do so. When they are in dire need of medical care and attention, it should be provided by us readily (not talking about financial problems).
Their only way of spending time is sitting on the balcony with their only friend ‘the radio’ or watching some news shows. What is in their mind? What are they constantly thinking? “I am too old and weak to visit my friends, and my friends don’t visit me either, are they even alive?”. Now isn’t it our duty to take them to their friends and contribute a little in their solitary life? Or are we still blind? Little bizarre things that we do for them matter millions to them. Their shins and calves ache every night, what are those strong hands worth for? A little massage for them would do us no harm but rather ease their pain.
‘A woman is the maker of the home’, we all have heard this proverb, but what about ‘It is in a woman’s hand to either create or destroy a house’. If you love your in-laws (applies to all) in the same way you love your own parents, every old citizen would live a much better and healthy life, vice versa for the man of the house. Let us look at things from the point of view of a child. Children learn from elders, from their surroundings. If they are used to seeing their grandparents treated with love, care and with great deal of attention, then they eventually will believe that it is the natural and the most correct way to treat their own parents when they grow old. But if your child is used to being in an environment where all their parents do is belittle the existence of their grandparents, the child will believe that belittling their parents is what they should do, that it is the right thing to do even when their own parents grow old. It is philosophically wrong to favour my own parents more than my in-laws.Today’s millennials exercise free-will, as parents you should train your children to practice their free will in the right way, teach them the most basic codes and conducts of humanity, teach them to open the windows of their soul, and teach them how to love and how to be loved. Only then, your child will know your worth and you will know your parents’.Grow up mentally immensely, and learn to welcome your responsibilities, learn to accept the calls from your adulthood, let alone running from your problems, because problems are what makes your life complete. And when you are finally 60 years of age, you will be respected for ‘who you are’ and not because ‘you are 60’. Open yourself up, show empathy not just sympathy. She carried you for nine months, and he sacrificed his rest time just so you could get a new bicycle on your birthday. When you take care of them, it's not favour you are doing them, it’s a duty assigned to you right at the moment you were given life. We should deny their (old folk’s) desire to die early, just so they could save us from the so called that they think they are giving us. Moreover, they should not be denied the opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren, laughing and spending time together. We should answer their questions ten times if they ask us ten times. When they suffer from Alzheimer, when they forget to tie even the laces of their shoes, we should not hesitate even for a moment to go on our knees and tie their laces for them, for our own parents and grandparents.
There are old citizens who have lost even the last living member of their family, in cases like this, the government should take full and proper responsibilities to give them a proper shelter, a normal life. They should be given proper medical care, should be fed, preened and taken care of.
Life is not at all about rainbows and unicorns, you will have your own highs and lows, be with your parents when they are in their highs and lows. Don’t let your parents wither away, don’t unsee their wet pillows, let them cry tears of joy and not tears of sadness. Enslaved by loneliness, they have become. You would not want to regret it when it is too late.You wouldn’t know the pleasure you get when you see them smile for the love you give them until and unless ‘you love them’. It is high time we free them from their solitary life.
The stereotypical way of defining old citizens as a burden is cliché. Expectation is what makes people hurt, when you don’t expect anything from anyone, nothing can hurt you. But when something does not reach your expectations, you tend to break down. Now as old parents, they surely would have expectations from their children, nothing much, just some love from you. Now imagine how broken they would be when you cannot even love them back. Old folks do have emotions, they feel weak, they are always worried, they are bound by a fear, a fear of rejection by their own children. Drops of tears do roll down their wrinkly chin. One should always remember the proverb, ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’ in short, you get what you do. Dear mates, for once let us act mature and let us not shatter our old parents’ expectations, let us not break their tender hearts, let us love them and nurture them. It is high time we make them believe that we can be a good child, a better parent and one with humanity. Only then, we can give justice to our parents and the old citizens.YES TO EXCHANGING ROLES!
The writer can be reached at [email protected]