Growing Old

Growing Old
Growing Old

During their lifetime, Churchill and Gandhi, amongst others have stated that: "You can learn a lot about a culture by how it treats its' old". When I first heard it, I didn't really understand what it meant, as I wasn't around old people much. My parents at the time were young and my aunts and uncle were all very young, and two of my grandparents had passed away before I was born while the other two passed away while I was too young to remember. As my dad passed away, and my mom started getting older, I started to notice that the young (including myself) as a society does not really pay much attention to their elderly. It used to be more apparent in Western cultures, but nowadays it is more existent in eastern cultures as well. More and more old folks homes are popping up, to take away the burden of caring for older loved ones. The elderly often become invisible because they are tucked away out of sight, out of mind. When people grow old in traditional villages in Fiji, family and friends care for them at home until their dying days. In America, the elderly are more typically sent to nursing homes — I understand the demands of a typical workday in the US, and I understand what leads someone to make that choice, but by contrast it appears unfeeling, even cruel. What is really intriguing is that it varies a lot culture by culture, as to how the last generation grows old, and what the younger generation dos to care for them. In Europe and US, older people are much more independent, and there are facilities for them to be independent, so you end up seeing more older people live by themselves, and have a life on their own. Observing this passage of life is very interesting to me, because I feel it is a chapter with a lot of stories. Older people live their lives slower, with majority of their actions based on their life experiences and wisdom earned over the years. One day I would love to do a project, to focus on how the older generation embrace the wonders of aging and deal with its challenges.

It also seems older people like to take the bus a lot.