This is the reason I have this blog so I can speak the unspoken. This might have contents from personal experience and some are from what I’ve seen, watched, witnessed, and heard that make me learn a lot.
One day I watched a TV program in my cable that showed elderly that left isolated (physically and mentally) by their children whether they were lived in an elderly care placement or they were lived alone in a dorm-size apartment. And that was the moment I think of my grandparents; I still have grandparents, only my grandpa from my dad side has passed away. I know it is not my issues because my relationship with them is I am their granddaughter and they are my parents’ responsibility to take care of. But still, this is become one of my concern nowadays because they’re my family.
These issues might only appear in West but I thought the issues might appear anywhere even in the East. But I have to agree, we, in the East still have ‘filial piety’ as I found in the article below:
It’s easy to make harsh comparisons between the East and West when it comes to the issue of elderly care. Values of Western cultures tend to celebrate youth, self reliance and individualism. Eastern cultures place enormous value on family and the elderly, often adhering to traditional age hierarchies. A traditional Asian household is far more likely to include a grandparent, whereas nursing homes in the United States, Australia and many parts of the West are increasingly overcrowded.
The Confucian doctrine of ‘filial piety’ continues to have a strong presence in Chinese and Asian culture. It simply means showing obedience, respect and deference to your elders. It’s considered a privilege to be in the enlightened company of an elder, and ancestral reverence remains vitally important today. In these and other cultures, it is considered utterly shameful not to take care of your aging parents. The same goes for Mediterranean cultures, where multi-generational families live together in the same house. (Advanta Home Care)
Regarding my ability and position it was not my zone to interfere whether they should be put in a nursing home or living in the same roof with their children. But one thing I learn for sure that they need someone to talk to. They need someone to care about them. And no matter where they lived I still can care about them.
Aging forced them to faced with the realization that they must accept the inability to stand alone or loss their independence or worse, the need to depend on someone else to do what they want to do, and that might make them feel feeble. Some elderly can accept that and the process of aging in their life even though it takes time and some maybe can not just accept it.
I didn’t treat elderly very nice at first because how the elderly treated me in the past has made me anxiety toward them and I am still struggle with that. I didn’t have the feeling to visit them or talk nice to them or listen to them or treat them nicely, no I didn’t wanna be around them even. I didn’t treat them bad it just flat like they’re not really there. One day, I try to look the world from elderly POV and I feel compassion toward them. Though I vow myself I am not going to be an elderly like how the elderly around me had show me. And getting older and wiser I learned a lot on how I should treat them. I am not going to say in the reality it will easy but at least I am trying.
First, try to listen to their never-ending and repetitive blabber about everything, in my case my mother death. I have to admit it wasn’t an interesting story to listen over and over. Some elderly will listen for positive feedback but some are just love to cut off any feedback. I was pretty sure they just want a full-time attention with just-listen-to-me attitude. Instinctively we become defensive for a repetitive story but when we try to become more less defensive and imagine how pity they are for being so old and lonely you’ll start to listen to them again. If it’s not working ask yourself “And why me (that have to listen)? or us?” because someday we’ll get old and we do want the best attitude for us too, right?
Second, call them as often as it should. A report estimates more than 360,000 older people have children too far away and “too busy to see them” but thanks to globalization era we’re living in we shorten distance with our smartphone. Call but not text (I learn elderly do NOT text) or video call, do everything as a compensation of our busy time to see them. Though it might mean you’ll hear the repetitive story, just bare with it.
Third, as youth resemble freedom so do elderly. Give them space. As people become old, they may become insecure. They need their space to be secure in it. Give them space to be old and act as an elderly. Try as much as possible to give them enough space so that their freedom is not curbed. The older people may have certain ritualistic behavior. They do not like people to discourage them from doing it. Another important thing to remember is that as people get older, their activities get reduced. (saching.com)
Fourth, try to manage a time in one month to actually see them and spend some time with them. To show affection. You don’t have to go for outing or any outdoor activities, just at home cook for them, eat with them or such. If there’s anything I struggle a lot is affection, communication and affection is rare and luxurious traits in my blood. I found my eyes welled up in tears as I sit together and speak to my grandma couple of months ago, things I rarely do, I awe her wrinkles and how I realize she’s getting older and older despite everything happens.
It’s not sound as easy as it is but my religion taught me about relations between human beings and that’s what make me strong everyday and my compassion to them if I feel tired of elderly or when my anxiety toward elderly kicks in.
I learn to treat elderly nice from now because when it’s come to my turn to take care of my parents when they’re getting in elderly phase, I’ll be ready and do what I need to do.
I wrote this not to remind you that you should treat your elderly better but to bring to mind that you in the future will get older and might feel what they might feel right now. Regret always come at the end when there’s no time to turn back.