Fri | Jun 5, 2020

Meeting the needs of older people

Published:Friday | November 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Within a four-month period, some members of the Highgate community were moved to tears as they observed the remains of three of our older citizens in the area being removed by police officers, after discovering that they had died for more than a day before anyone realised. In two cases, the doors to their rooms had to be kicked in by the police.

In these two cases, it was the stench from the rooms that resulted in individuals calling the police. In one case, a post-mortem had to be done on the spot and immediate burial in the yard of the deceased was ordered by the authorities. There are others who have experienced brutal deaths of close associates within a short period here in Highgate, as well.

The frightening revelation for many is the proximity to other houses with people living in them that these incidents occurred. The questions that still remain to be answered are: What prevents church people from being good neighbours? Where are the children who are usually the closest friends to the old soul next door? The answers remain in the winds around us.

Lack of self-awareness

This letter is an attempt to make an emotional appeal, and those who condemn it wholesale are demonstrating a lack of self-awareness. Most of us church people have emotional dimensions and strongly feel adherence to a common set of values. Yes, there are those of us who have stronger feelings about certain things than others, but we all cease to be human beings if we are not responsive to issues that negatively impact the aged among us.

Maybe it is time for us to ask ourselves some searching questions. For example, what are our ideas of older age? Do these ideas need replacement? What mental habits do we have that impact our relationship with older folks that may need upgrading or replace-ment, because of recently observed occurrences? The longer we hang on to outworn ideas, the more they affect us negatively. Think about it, if ageing is allowed to become the major fear of this generation, then what? All efforts of scientists and others to root out the main causes of ageing and hold off its reality have failed so far. Hence, it is still a common destination for all of us.

Let us imagine that the 'can't-bother-to-have-children' attitude takes hold of our society, then the coming years will more and more be dominated by older people. If we don't like them, then what next? Many will die like those described earlier. Let us get closer to them and prepare for such a world, starting today.

I am, etc.,

E. COLEMAN

Highgate Friends Church