Once again we see the call for people to be especially aware of old people, especially those living alone, at Christmas.
It says a lot about our society that there has to be a special mention for these people and that it happens only once a year. Why can’t we look after our oldies? Why are they shuttled away to some remote and (often) lonely corner of our conurbations?
In Spain it is great to see that grand parents and single old folk are still a part of the community in which they live. Their help with younger family members is often a great benefit to younger people and, even if they cannot help, they are not seen as a burden, simply a part of the family that is less active than the rest of it.
In the UK and other European countries there is a whole industry designed to accommodate and (inevitably) profit from the aged. Families seem to have no idea that they are where they are because their parents and grand parents made it possible by their hard work and generosity.
I live alone and am quite able to look after myself but recent health set-backs have alerted me to the fact that this may not always be the case. This was a choice I made and the consequences will be mine alone. I will simply have to cope or, as they say, go down fighting.
Having cared for relatives who were incapacitated, I do realise that there is a lot of hard work, often thankless hard work at that, involved but just how hard did those relatives work to enable the rest of us to live the lives we have enjoyed. How many times did any other family member bother to even say a simple “thankyou” to show some appreciation for what they have received? I know my wife and I were never thanked for relieving our adult children of the burden of caring for them.
Society has lost all sense of honour and duty when it comes to family members. Even active old people are assigned to the dreaded nursing homes that so many of them fear.
We need to look again at our Christmas appeals and add a simple rider to the request to remember the elderly –
Granny is for life – Not just for Christmas.