Self-esteem and respect for the elderly in our society

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By Francis Saldanha
Bellevision Media Network

20 December 2015: As the saying goes like, treasure the wisdom of old age, learn from elder people and be wise. It used to be that the elders were the most revered members of any community, tribe or family. Particularly in our society the elderly in our lives were held in high esteem and they were often sought out for advice about love, marriage, home remedies for illness and life itself. As important members of our families, old folk were not only a source of advice and guidance, but they also helped raise our children.




However, a complete change has taken place when it comes to the elderly people and the place they hold in today’s society. They are no longer involved in the rearing of their grandchildren and have been replaced by daycare centers, the internet, and television and videos games.


The sense of family unity, love of community, respect and care for our fellow man instilled in children by their grandparents has all been lost in the absence of these valuable sources of knowledge and experience. In some cases the elderly folks in today’s society are treated more like old furniture than part of the family.  Some time they are dusted off every so often and taken out of the house for a trip to the mall or a fast food restaurant or they are simply placed in convalescent homes where they spend the rest of their life lonely and forgotten.




There are, however, some cultures and communities around the world where the elderly population is still treated with love and respect.  They also hold important positions as head of families and beacon of wisdom and knowledge, guiding and paving the way for younger generations. Sadly, in some cultures, the elderly population is not treated with the respect and dignity they deserve and are sometimes the subject of abuse, mockery and ridicule.


I think it is still not too late for the new generation and in fact for all of us to reconcile with our elderly population and recognize the value they provide to our society as a source of history and experience. It is time for us to be patient and gentle with elderly people in our lives, as we all know that with age, as hearing, sight and short term memory diminishes which is quite understandable.




To my little knowledge at times there are simple things we can do to make our elderly people in the family to feel loved and cared for as valuable part and parcel of our close-knit families by speaking to them loudly and clearly without yelling at them.Get them involved in the meal cooking process by inviting them to peel vegetables.  If there is an event taking place in the family, let them know why and when it is happening etc. At times do not whisper in their presence as if you are hiding something from them which will lead to confusion and ill feeling. At times it is very good to get those talking by asking about what life was like when they were young.  It is also advisable at times to hug and kiss them often to let them know that you love and appreciate them and that you are proud to be part of their descendants.




Loving, respecting and interacting with our elderly loved ones help keep them alert and oriented. By doing that it exercises their brain and helps prevent dementia, Alzheimer’s and other mental degenerative diseases.


I would like to share BV reader’s ideas on how to re-integrate the elderly into our society and make use of the vast knowledge and experience they possess. Also would like to dedicate my thoughts and respect to one of my senior most colleague who is taking care of his aged mother at home, who has celebrated her 100th birthday very recently.



Comments on this Article
Francis Lobo, Mumbai Sun, January-17-2016, 8:31
But some times the Priests are responsible for spoiling the union of children and parents. There are instances where parents have been kidnapped by a Parish Priest without the knowledge of children taking over large land by false promises and later neglected. Children are taking care now aged mother who is 88 years. Same land is under litigation since 20 years and church is fighting for land and not unity of community
Francis J. Saldanha, Moodubelle / Bahrain Sun, January-17-2016, 6:32
@ Ronald Saby, well said Sir! Self- esteem was not the issue for my parents or their parents. Survival was their primary goal. As they say, when the gardeners are good, the flower will bloom. Hence, we are all the products and victims of our own upbringing, until we reflect, refuse, and rebel. Yes, upbringing is the key here.
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Thu, January-14-2016, 11:17
I fully agree with Francis Saldanha s quote:- Loving, respecting and interacting with our elderly loved ones help keep them alert and oriented. I strongly believe respecting, loving and supporting elders and aged parents is highway to success and a great example to our future generation. I do know several joint families living happily with their aged parents irrespective of religion within our own villages and also few examples where young people have ignored and eventually oldies have made into home for the aged!! In general an important eye opener article. It may not be easy to advise and impose young generation to love and support parents....might have to come through some kind of upbringing.
belle chandrashekhara shetty, belle/bangalore Thu, December-24-2015, 2:38
Good, advisory and adoptable article for the present value loosing society. People forget that they too become elders one day. showing actual love and affection and taking care of aged persons with respect in the family is definitely a unique asset and also very much required. complements to BV and to the author too.
Dilip Kallianpur, Kallianpur / Kingdom of Bahrain Mon, December-21-2015, 3:13
Well timed article! Treat your parents with the loving care they gave you growing up.That is exactly how they would want you to treat them in their old age. We never know the love of a parent, till we become parents ourselves and when we are their age, we will exactly expect the same. Blessed are those who are fortunate to look after them. Unfortunately, their numbers are on the decline.
Deena S.Dsouza, Mangalore Mon, December-21-2015, 1:05
Good read! Elderly people are now, who you will one day become, hence respecting their wisdom, knowledge, grace and fortitude should be second nature to younger generations, but it is not always the case. Sometimes we need reminding of why it is so important to respect our elders in our families, for what they have to impart to us that will help ease our journey through life. So yes definitely the elders should always be respected, like you want them to respect you.
Simon DSouza, Dubai/Moodubelle Sun, December-20-2015, 10:37
Very well narrated article. We must respect our elders and they are our role models. And we must take care of them during their old age and we will having blessings from almighty. Also it is our duty to teach our children how to respect our elders, give love and affectionate to them.
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