We Are Alone

Loneliness. Ten letter word that arouses million fears in us. Due to our busy schedules,  we do not notice this life fact which will certainly happen to us all in one of our life stadium.

Loneliness is felt and pervaded mostly in the  old age. With less  and less tasks, life really slows down.

World as we know it changes: people face with loss of family, friends and partners, number of close people is decreasing, it gets harder to find somebody to  talk to and share feelings with, without feeling as burden to everyone around us.

Rarely do we young try to „walk in their shoes“. Could it be that we don`t even consider  difficulties that this life stage brings and  the fear that it awaits us too, if we are lucky enough to live to that age.  How can we help older people so that they don`t  perceive old age as waiting for the „train of death“? We cannot answer all of the questions, but we must be aware of these facts:

Old age implies  adjustment to life changes as well as potential risks this age inevitably carries. As body functions naturally decrease, health risks and development of the diseases  arise. Lack of activities, social care and nurishment  affects  their mental health. Due to all that, it can be concluded that elderly are social group that can become subject to poverty and social exclusion.

Therefore, social support is crucial in overcoming such life changes. Indeed, it is hard to accept that older people are not included in social events. Just because they are old, does not mean they are less worthy. Moreover, we could learn a lot from their life experience.

I would like to mention that we will also grow old one day. If we could look back in the past, we could see that helping each other and supporting family life, part of which of course is helping older parents, was completely natural and, foremost, vital for community support.

Today is quite different. Older people are neglected, forgotten from their children and society and  are decaying  more and more, losing their cognitive and psychophysical abilities. Maybe neglected, but it doesn`t have to be like that!

Not only young pepole are alienated from elderly, but violence againtst them is increasing.  Often they are seen as incapable for living in modern world due to their old age and decreased body and cognitive functions.  I belive that value of their knowledge and experience is priceless. No world computer server can be compared  to the amount of knowledge that is carved in every inch of their body during lifetime.

One must wonder, what kind of society have we become when law protection from one`s own children and family memeber is needed?

Recently, in Croatia new law has been adopted  according to which the most severe  punishment and high money fine  are given to those who do not support nor take care for their old, poor and sick parents.

Although I am more than happy because of this positive changes in terms of punishment, but at the same time I am disappointed to see these negative trend which  demands such punishments.

Combining  young and old, inter – generational learning  can bring nothing but positive changes in us as well as in whole society. I am certain that we don`t want to wake up one day and have no one to talk wtih to. To be aware of all knowledge we have,our  fear and wishes and not having someone to share it with. When we become older, we may not be able to participate in the same amount of activities as when we were younger. In spite of that, we do have so much to offer in maintaining quallity of our society. We must not allow  spirit of elderly people to  ever vanish from us. Without doubt we can learn a lot from each other. Old people can complete our knowledge by, for example teaching us some traditional customs through which our culutural heritage could be preserved Meanwhil, we can help them in adjusting to modern ever changing  world. Stay human no matter what.

I would like to share with you example of one lovely, retired lady – one of the first DESA`s members – Mrs Marija Veltruski.  She is a wonderful person filled with love, compassion and above all, modesty. Through all her life, along with other DESA`s members, Mrs Veltruski has worked on  preservation of her homeland`s heritage, passing her knowledge on traditional values to the youngest members through  additional  extra-curicular  activities in elementary schools, implementation of which is her credit.  All of this you can fins in her recently published book „Nurished with strings of love“. She wrote book in her 74th year with help of younger  DESA`s members.  After this, can somebody dispute the fact that older people can contribute to society helping its growth and wealth? And this is just one small example in my surrounding, but the one that fills me with love towards older people and inspires me to look at world  differently.



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