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Respecting Our Elderly

This pandemic has particularly been challenging for our senior citizens. They have been vulnerable to COVID-19 and are suffering the effects of the lockdown restrictions. And yet, society owes them respect, protection, and care. In these perplexing times, families and governments should do the utmost to safeguard and nurture our elderly people.

From observation and speaking with several older people, I have realized that they generally have been feeling deprived of face-to-face encounters with family and friends. Majority have felt sad about no longer being able to serve the Church physically because of quarantine restrictions. Many of their peers have died and they have not had the chance to see them beforehand or even go to their wake in person. They have also been feeling lost in the world of technology which has become a necessity nowadays. There are those whose sources of income have dwindled or whose pensions are not enough to cover their needs. 

October 1 has been designated by the UN General Assembly as the International Day of Older Persons. It is a global opportunity to stress the importance of taking care of our elderly. Together, we can protect them who have been sharing their nurturance, sacrifices, wisdom and legacy with us. As international and local communities, we can advocate healthy and graceful aging. It has been said that civil rights defender Mahatma Gandhi pointed out that, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”

I am very grateful to my mother for all that she has been doing to help us, her children, to be God-loving, responsible and service-oriented individuals. All these years, she has been exhibiting genuine concern for others, and we, as well as those who can testify to this, continue to be grateful to her. During this pandemic, amid the challenges of lockdowns, I can gladly say that she has been exemplifying resilience, hoping in the Lord, using her talents to flourish and assist others even from the corners of our home. 

Pope Francis, in his message to older persons last June 22, ahead of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly said, “Because there is no retirement age from the work of proclaiming the Gospel and handing down traditions to your grandchildren; You just need to set out and undertake something new.” 

Through his inspiring words, he reminded the elderly, “The Lord is always–always–close to us. He is close to us with new possibilities, new ideas, new consolations, but always close to us. You know that the Lord is eternal; he never, ever goes into retirement…. The whole Church is close to you–to us–and cares about you, loves you and does not want to leave you alone.” 
 


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