Elderly or Elders?

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Elderly or Elders?

Ed:"This is a thought provoking article from Fiona Miles who's blog can be found at RedHotandgreenblog.wordpress.com, and the unedited article can be downloaded here

Why do we in the UK ignore those who came before us? asks Fiona Miles

The Little Boy and the Old Man

The little boy "Sometimes I drop my spoon."The old man, "I do that too."

The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants!" I do that too," laughed the old man.

The little boy, "I often cry." The old man nodded, "So do I."

"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems Grown-ups don't pay attention to me." And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand, "I know what you mean," said the Old man."  Shel Silverstein

When I read this, it made me think hard about how we in the UK treat the older people in our culture; especially those who no longer have the benefit of good health or mobility. I would actually include people of any age who are less mobile or have illnesses which prevent them from being as socially active as they might like to be. These people seem to be forgotten and ignored.

Some just want to be left alone, but let us not assume that.

Fi recalls " walking into the sun lounge at a nursing home where my uncle worked, and seeing a line of pink and blue armchairs with several people sitting, having a nap, reading, or watching TV. They were anonymous to me at first."

"However, my uncle began to tell me about some of those he had got to know or whose families had shared their stories, some of which were incredible. Stories of heroism, charity, kindness, talent, adventure. Once I had a name and a back — story for a few, it illuminated each and every person in the room!"

"In many cultures, older people are revered and respected. With age, wisdom is automatically assumed. These cultures often use the term "Elders". I like that idea. Some village elders of Tarvin meet at the Methodist Church on Saturday for the coffee morning, but others may well be lonely and in need of company."

So, I urge you, dear readers to do three things, starting today:-

  • One: If you have a neighbour or relative whom you know doesn't get out much, whatever their age; bake a cake, or buy some biscuits and take them round, or invite them over for a cuppa and a chat. Give them your number so if they ever need a hand, they can call you.
  • Two: Get down to the Methodist Church on a Saturday morning and have a coffee and cake. Get to know our village elders, you may learn a thing or two.
  • Three: Treat your "Elders" as "Wisers" and maybe you will be too."