BETWEEN FRIENDS: Being senior, being human PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 May 2014 14:05

By LINDA CABABA-ESPINOSA, Ed.D.

 

It’s not easy to understand a situation unless one becomes a real part of it.  Life begins with youth, stays there a long time. Long enough to bask in the many joys of living, long enough to make one forget that as each day gives way to another day one ages and moves from youth to old age.  Except when one’s life is suddenly halted by death, one could continue in this world to a ripe old age.

From most of my readings, I have learned that man’s life span has greatly improved.  Man now lives much longer when compared to life spans 40-50 years ago because of improved medicines and technological advances making life easier and more comfortable.

On top of this, there are several countries in the world today that have decided to control their population by adopting population control programs to minimize the number of babies being born.  Programs that allow couples to have only one or two children so that the country’s resources may not be overly taxed and everybody can live less stressful and more comfortable lives.

While the intention is very clearly positive for everybody, there are the unavoidable negative effects.  China’s one child policy for several years, for example, has given it very few babies and is now in dire need of a young generation to take care of a majority ageing population.  The senior citizens of China will soon be a national burden and as they slowly fade away, they do so without the proper attention and care they deserve as senior citizens of a society that has been culturally trained to revere their ageing parents and grandparents.

Reaching the age of seniority forces one to contend with all developments towards deterioration, physical and mental, that come with it – bones that creak, knees that ache and wobble, poor vision, partial deafness, ugly wrinkles, and forgetfulness.  Consequently, whether one likes it or not, the senior citizen is forced to give up some of his independence and rely on the assistance of those younger than he is.

But the world has changed so much.  Most of today’s generation are not as solicitous, considerate, understanding, or caring.

Time was when children felt strongly obligated to take care of their parents to the point of asking them to move into their homes, and try to take care of them in an effort to repay the attention and care they had been given as children.

Time was when children felt guilty about allowing their aged parents to live away from them on the excuse that they did not want to be a nuisance to their children’s lives.

Not anymore.  While there are still those who continue to take care of their parents, this can be found mostly in the barrios where progress and lifestyle has not been strongly affected by the demands of city life. Many city dwellers, however, find the presence of aged parents in their homes an additional burden, although they would not admit it.

As the world continues to move on and life becomes busier and more demanding, it is important that we take time to sit back and remember how much we owe our parents, remember that they continue to be human in their needs like us, even as they pick up their eternal baggage and slowly move toward their pre departure areas in preparation for their flight to eternity.

In today’s world, indifference to the needs and sufferings of others has become more acute.  It is time we go back to the basics to review lessons on gratitude, parental sympathy, understanding, compassion and love.