Looking After The Elderly

by Patrick Liew on June 12, 2012

Recent incidents about the apparent lack of concern for and even abuse of the elderly broke my hearts.

Alex Ong was filmed on a mobile phone shouting at a 76-year-old  elderly lady for pressing the bell in a bus at the last minute. He raised his arm, threatening to hit her.

He finally pushed her out of the door of a stationery bus, screaming at her, “This is not your bus!”

In another incident, Lim Geok Kim, a 72-year-old cleaner was punched in the face in the Kopitiam outlet at the Tampines Mall. She had told a patron who had brought in outside food that she should not put the food trays on the floor.

The lady who apparently looked to be in her 30s responded by scolding her and shouting all kinds of vulgarities at her. In the presence of witnesses, she punched her.

Madam Lim suffered a cut near the left eyebrow, causing it to bleed.

It was disappointing to also read about the concerns of some of the residents at Woodlands and Toh Yi  Drive. They had objected to having elderly care services near their neighborhood.

More recently, residents at Bishan were voicing their displeasure about the setting up of elderly care facilities near their homes. Some of them complained that it would affect the values of their properties and about the elderly dying near their homes.

This not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) syndrome disturbs me. The selfish behaviour and utter lack of compassion and humanity deeply sadden me.

I hope that these are isolated incidents. They are not and will never be a reflection of the majority of our people’s attitude to the elderly and the dying.

I pray that we will always help the elderly  live a meaningful and fulfilling life. We will do everything possible to help them age with dignity and gracefully.

We Live Because Of Them.

We should be grateful to them because without them, we will not be alive. They looked after us and made it possible for us to continue to live.

They taught us values and principles that are needed for us to live and to live well. As we go about our daily affairs, we will do well to remember they did their part to build the world around us and we are enjoying the fruits of their labour

There is more that we can learn from them – no matter how educated and smart we think we are. They have a wise teacher that spent more time with them than us.

This teacher is Experience. Experience can impart many valuable lessons in life  and  these lessons can be transferred to us through our elders.

The Way We Treat Our Elderly Will Shape Our Community And Future.

How do we want our community to be like?

If we adopt an ethnocentric attitude and are predominantly concern about protecting our interests and pursuing self-serving goals, the fabric of our community will  fragment.

By not looking after the poor, the  weak, and the disadvantaged such as the elderly, we are dehumanizing society and gutting the soul out from it.

All the ethos and values that bond and bridge communities and uphold civilised society will begin to disappear. Society will break down and decay.

When we make sacrifices and endeavor to look after the last, the least, and the lost, we will develop more love, kindness and compassion.

The need to stand by and support one another will drive us to improve quality of life and make our world a better home.

It will also ensure that we can look forward to the future with hope and optimism. We will have a place in a gracious society.

This noble aspiration may not enhance our bank account but it will enrich our self esteem and fulfillment. It will help us find greater meaning, purpose and significance  in our life and such returns are priceless.

Remember: We, Too, Will Grow Old.

When we look after the elderly, we are also setting an example for the next generation. Someday, when we grow old, we will expect them to look after us too.

I hope the younger people will feel for us the way we felt for the elderly. They will look after us in the same  way that we have done our best to speak for and help the elderly.

As family units are smaller and coupled with a fast-aging population, the problem of looking after the elderly will become more pronounced.

We will do well to confront the problem now and continue to fine tune the solution. We will then be better prepared to resolve similar or even worst problems in the future.

For those who are against looking after the elderly, they will thank us for standing against them now. When they grow old, they will realize we have been securing their future for them. 

How Then Should Your Response Be?

I feel for many of the elders, their fear of being shunned and rejected by people around them. They worry that they will not be given a chance to find meaningful work.

What’s even worst, they may be abandoned and left to die all alone in an old folks home.

I hope you will feel for them too. You will rise up together with the silent majority  to stand by and behind them.

Think of how your parents and other adults looked after you when you were young. They fed you, clothed you, and looked after your every need.

How should you repay them and look after them and others of their generation?

When you meet an elderly person, remember they are somebody else’s parents and loved ones.

What if they are your parents, how will you treat them? What will you do to them that you hope others will to do to your parents?

If they are slow, unresponsive,and potentially, a burden to us, if we don’t look after them, who will look after them? If not us, who?

In the same vein, who will look after us when we are like them?

How should we set an example and teach our children and the younger generation about respecting the elderly?

What can we do to teach them about looking after the elderly so that we will not be ditched by them and left to fend for ourselves?

How can we prevent others from disrespecting and  ill treating the elderly and potentially creating a cruel world for ourselves in the future?

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at http://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

Visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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