honouring our elders
Apparently, May is Older American Month. And I thought it would be great to think about our ‘elders’.
As medical advances proliferate, our populations are growing older as we are able to keep people alive for much longer.
Whether this is right or wrong I don’t know, but with an older community we need to find ways to reconnect.In my village there are many single, elderly people. We are friendly with 3 of them and they enrich our lives tremendously. but I sense a deep loneliness which I feel is one of the biggest curses of our time.
I find myself thinking ‘I should visit xxx’ but of course life gets in the way and before you know it another week has passed. So maybe this week, we could all focus on thinking about the elders in our own communities and how we could enrich their lives. Could you put them first instead of your other commitments?
Crafts are dying out such as knitting, repairing and making things. We can now buy everything we need and most of the things we want, so we don’t bother to value the old crafts any more. Wouldn’t it be great to spend an afternoon in the presence of someone who could teach you how to add a new skill to your life?
Tea and cake
I once saw a local advert for people to volunteer to invite a few of the elderly community around once a month for a ‘tea party’. It was organised by a charity and the idea was to open up your home and your heart to some of the vulnerable and lonely. Is this something you could consider doing?
When we go shopping in our local town we drive through some beautiful countryside. For single, elderly people who are not mobile, a drive through the country can be just the tonic they need. Who can fail to be uplifted by beautiful scenery? Next time you’re popping out, why not take your neighbour with you?
The simplest chore for you can be arduous for an older person. Could you offer to run errands, take someone to an appointment or help with their garden? In exchange you’ll get great karma points and probably some incredible conversation!
One of our friends, in her eighties, shares some wonderful stories about her childhood. When I’m having a ‘I can’t stand the state of the world’ day, she’s offering tales of running through fields before roads were built, gathering chicken’s eggs and dancing around meadows of wild flowers – it’s a tonic for the soul and she’s got someone to talk to.
What could you do to honour your elders this month?
I think this is a really important topic, we have an “adopted” great-grandmother figure who teaches me, and my kids so much about life… see my post http://dreamingaloudnet.blogspot.com/2010/12/life-lessons-from-elder.html
@Lucy @ dreamingaloudnet: How lovely to have ‘adopted’ someone; we have a couple of friends in the village who are in their 80s, so they are ‘substitute grandparents’ in a way 🙂