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One day of compassion

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.

2 comments to One day of compassion

  • Alberto

    Thank you so much for your excellent analysis of old people situation in European countries. Our grandparents and parents have work very hard their whole lives for giving us a better and more confortable lives, educational and health systems, opportunities, etc. The fact is that the vast majority of younger people seems to be not able to value our ancestors’ efforts or we are able to be aware of their efforts but we prefer to look away when these things are going on. I hope this change as soon as possible.

  • Alberto

    Many Spanish people want Muslims to kick out of Spain because those Spaniards think that Muslims are taking advantage of Spanish Social Services but they forget that many of our grandparents are looked after by Muslim women. I think those Spaniards are not able to think clearly. I think that Spanish middle class -if it exits- should ask themselves who is their real enemy. In my opinion, the real problem is that our national government, parliament members of the our nation and autonomous regions and the excessive numbers of civil servants are living off of the common people. Also rich people have become even richer during this endless crisis and they should pay more taxes than the middle class and the poor people. It is unfair that poor people have to pay the same VAT than the richest people!

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