Are We Doing Enough For Our Seniors?
As a community, we are blessed with a particularly large ratio of seniors, as compared to other communities. Our seniors are the pillars of our community, and needless to add, their presence and contributions must be acknowledged and respected. It’s important that we care for our older citizens and ensure that they remain safe and well looked after during their twilight years… Even more so, through the ongoing pandemic, when they are at a far greater risk of losing their lives, with comparatively weakened immune systems, further compromised by other underlying health conditions.
A number of our seniors live by themselves or even if living with family, many find themselves succumbing to loneliness and depression. Every so often, I receive e-mails and written letters from senior citizens or from concerned people, stating the need for greater awareness about the needs and welfare of our senior community members. We need to do more than just treat our elders with respect and dignity. Their needs extend beyond common courtesies. Are we doing enough for our seniors?
Today, technology is at the forefront of human communication, making things less personal than the past. Amid hectic schedules of juggling family life and work, and communicating digitally as the main mode of connection, a number of our not-so-tech-savvy seniors feel forgotten and abandoned. Instead of giving them our time and the attention they so deserve, we are too busy and dismissive of them and of their contributions to our family and our community.
No one is more deserving of our help, kindness, compassion and emotional support than those in their twilight years. They don’t ask for much – all it would take is for you to consciously, regularly and unfailingly, pencil in time for them, to help them with a few chores they’re unable to do on their own… spend time with them – listen intently, ask for their opinion and advice – you’ll be surprised with the wisdom and effectivity these hold; express your appreciation and respect for them; share a meal; discuss family heritage, history and traditions; take a slow walk with them…. If you’re unable to see them regularly in person, phone them, but stay connected. You could also choose to support and participate in Senior Citizens Welfare Group in your baugs/colonies, or simply visit our seniors in senior homes/centers.
PT’s initiative for seniors, Parsi Times LIFELINE, has been catering to their needs for months now, thanks to our generous donors. While some seniors truly have no family to take care of them, there are many who do, but are still left uncared for. When family fails to protect the elderly, then the community or society step in. My question is – why does family fail? Why must our seniors face humility, deprivation, dispossession, loneliness and abuse?
As Parsis and as Indians, we are held in great esteem for how we treat our elderly. Even so, an increasing number of instances paint despondent stories of seniors being mistreated, revealing a growing societal degradation and ingratitude, as we blindly sacrifice our traditions and duties towards the elderly, at the altar of material pursuits and superficialities. We do not realise that when we fail to meet the needs of our elderly, we relegate a dreadful preface to our own inevitably similar destiny. So, let’s do our bit for our silvers, starting here and now!
Have a good weekend!