In a society which values high performance and profitability of individuals, elderly people are far too often the neglected and forgotten citizens and this despite their important contribution to society and the family. The elderly deserve our consideration, respect, attention and compassion, especially when faced with various obstacles.
I had the immense privilege and pleasure to spend some wonderful memorable moments with my little cousin Ester who is 102 years of age. Despite her advanced age, she amazes us with her vivacity, energy, serenity and zest for life. Her appreciation for her family and loved ones, as well as her gratitude for being alive, shows us how we preoccupy ourselves with little concerns that, due to our own amplification, make us forget what is truly precious in life, which are family, love, benevolence, health and inner peace. Hence, my little cousin’s life experiences and wisdom are an invaluable richness for us all.
My cousin Ester is lucky to have the physical and mental capacity allowing her to live on her own, and this in an autonomous manner. Unfortunately, her case is not the norm and many elderly people, especially those who have lost their autonomy or who are too often victim of negligence in the hands of their own family, are placed in old age homes without adequate care or visits from their loved ones. This sad reality causes many elderly to live with depression in profound solitude with ties to family members such as grand-children being cut off. This causes the latter to be deprived of an enriching relationship with their grand-parents, and this on all levels.
The special relationship between grand-parents and grand-children is unique and despite the age gap, the two generations understand each other. The usual conflicts between parents and children, as well as the responsibilities of parents towards their children being nonexistent, grand-children feel a certain peace and unconditional love emanating from their grand-parents. Just being together brings joy and tranquility to the two generations. Whenever possible, children should never be deprived of their grand-parents because this bond is of such a richness which cannot be otherwise replaced.
Let’s love and respect our elderly, and give them a much needed voice.
Ricaardoe Di Done, April 2016
See also Do you think our elderly relatives are safe and protected in Quebec?, an article and a video on Healthcare services and senior citizens in Québec.