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Are We Shunting Our Elderly To the Margins?

old manYesterday afternoon and evening I joined my brother and  some of his children and grandchildren to celebrate the New Year. We had a lovely gathering.

Pope Francis feels that the elderly, even family, are being pushed to the margins and forgotten about in our modern society and asks us to make a special effort during 2014 to be more conscious of their need to be included. I must try to do something practical myself in this regard.

Last summer my confrere started teaching a simple art courscard 001e for some elderly people who attend a local Day Care Centre. They produced some simple colourful Christmas Cards (sample on left is one done with petals) which they sent to their friends.

Before Christmas a letter appeared in an Irish newspaper from an elderly gentleman who had spent the last nine Christmases on his own as he had no family. He asked if, this year, someone would join him for the day for a change. By the 24thDec he had received hundreds of replies. I'm not so sure about the comments!

Pope Francis relates this little story: A grandfather was living with his son and his family. As he grew older he became slobbery and soiled the table and his clothes. The family decided to sit him apart at his own small table during mealtimes. One day the father returned home to find his young son busily working in the garage. He asked him what he was doing. The boy replied: "I'm making a small table you can eat at when you get old". The lesson was learnt and grandfather was allowed to return to the family group.


That last story is really great. :)

I think it's really sad in our "throw away" society, that it even includes people. :)
It's a classic tale told him many forms.

here's a retelling of Grimms' version.
I am currently reading Grimms' Fairy Tales, so I should be coming across that one soon I would guess. :)
Great story.
This nasty, insidious thing has a name: 'Ageism'

It's supposed to be illegal in a great many so called 'developed' nations, but I do wonder.
I think younger people are in such a rush to go about their living its easy for them to bypass interacting with the elderly but there are so many things you can learn from them we should all slow down and listen.
What a beautiful card. I think we treat the elderly as we do the environment, even as we do ourselves if we are unconscious about the wholeness of what it is to be here on this planet, the gift of it.

We are "programmed" by advertising to worship the young and unattainable. Can we stop, find ourselves, and uncover and reveal what is within and what is truly valuable? I think we now have a pope, Pope Francis, who is a guide to exactly that.

May his words ripple through each of us, and this universe we share.

My mom taught crafts at a senior's center in Dallas as long as she was able - mostly to little Mexican ladies who had outlived their husbands. I think it's a shame that we're no longer able to take care of our elderly in the home as in times past, but just about everyone has to have a regular job these days. My family is lucky in that one of my sisters is able to take off from her regular job and take care of our mother, who has moved in with her. The last few months of my dad's life I spent as much time with him as I could, and watching him pass from this world was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.
I like the story
I agree that the elderly should be included in everyone's life.
My parents told me that in Chinese culture, much respect was accorded to your elders for they were seen to be be wiser and more experienced. I'm pretty sure I've been hearing complaints about the lack of respect and consideration given to the elderly in the United States for at least 30 years now. I wonder if it's still the case back in their home country or if attitudes towards the elderly have changed there too?