It is our Responsibility to take take Care of the Elderly – Yes

George Bernard Shaw once said “It is the highest creatures who take the longest to mature, and are the most helpless during their maturity.” Just the other day there was a news story about a baby who had been abandoned in front of an apartment. In Texas it is considered criminal to abandon a helpless child anywhere but a fire station, a hospital, or anywhere else that would not constitute endangerment to the child.  Why is there so much hoopla about abandoned babies and children? It is because they are seen as helpless by society, and they cannot survive on their own without tender loving care and attention. Yet people in society abandon the elderly everyday – by not going to check on them, by not seeing them as productive, by defrauding them of their hard-earned money, and by neglecting their needs and points of view.

Not only in other cultures of the world, but even there was a time when taking care of the elderly was seen as the right to do in western nations also; it was just the logical thing to do. Your parents took care of you, sent you to college, and gave you their support when you needed it.  You benefited from their wisdom and cried on their shoulders and financed your first house with money they gave you; so why would you not return the favor in kind by making them a part of your life now that they are old and forgetful and artful with their tongues every once in a while? Have you sat down lately and thought about your children? You could hardly let go of them even though you knew it was time to cut the cords.  So you clung, and still cling to every contact, cherish every phone call, and wish they were children again.  Where would you want to be when you are eighty and suffering from Alzheimer’s and cannot tie your shoes? In the loving comfort of a loving family environment or in a lonely apartment counting dots on the wall?

We all know that circumstances make life very unpredictable.  Sometimes, it is not possible to have the opportunity to take care of the elderly, but when you do have that opportunity, there is nothing more beautiful in the world than seeing generations of people gather around the dinner table or catching a movie night together.  There are so many benefits in taking care of the elderly. They can help around the house if they can, help with the children and impart so much wisdom, and be a source of emotional support in times of need.  Even if you must put them in a home or assisted living community, take the time to visit them very week and spend as much time as you can with them.  If possible, bring the whole family along, and take them out to dinner once in a while. Nothing stimulates a sense of well being than a sense of belonging.  You do not need to be there all the time, but you do need to let them know you are there.