WELFARE OF THE SENIOR CITIZENS
Dear brothers & Sisters and children,
I stand before you not as a speaker but as one of the Eldest persons. gathered here!
In fact the subject lesson on which we share today, according to the Church Calendar is “CARING AND ACCEPTING THE ELDERLY”. The lessons we heard this morning also are focussing on this aspect of our behaviour towards the Elders, both our parents and the older people in the community.
God has given us life in four Packages 1) The Child hood 2) The teenage 3) The Youth and 4) The Old age. All the four are of different nature and specialities. In Childhood the entire care is taken by the parents particularly the Mother, as the child is unable to do anything for itself. Thereafter during the Teenage the parents have a remote control on the children in their daily needs both at home and in their education etc.
During the Youth or Adolescent period there is a total change in the personality development and he or she looks after their needs themselves with occasional help from their parents and friends.
Now the next stage is very important as it has multifaceted features which have to be handled carefully. First of all the Elders themselves must know their limitations. This fact is to be accepted by them. The children and those who are with these old people also must accept their inabilities and support them to tide over the problems.
Before we examine the different aspects of Elderly people of this generation, we may go back to our ancestor’s period of living together as a joint family, sharing the burden together in their family and attending the needs of the elderly people. Feeling of isolation is not felt by the elders and this situation makes them forget their infirmities. They also share the happiness and sorrows together with members of the family.
God gave a companion to Adam only because he did not want Adam to be alone and in isolation. That shows that by creation we need mutual support to live in whatever stage we are. King David was anxious about his old age and he prays to God not to forsake him in his old age when he will be feeble in strength. He pleads God to give long life to convey the God’s Glory and Power and Strength to the future generation. God answered his request and promised him to take care of him. Read Paslms 71 and Isaiah 46/4
The old age is an agonising period of life and you need a comforter to help you. WHILE Jesus Christ was on the cross He asked His disciple John to look after His mother Mary. This confirms the fact that elders cannot live alone in old age. Jesus also tells His disciples that, HE will send a Comforter to them after He is gone. This instance clearly shows that we must take care of our Elders in their difficult period of life.
GOD wants the youngsters to obey His commandments (Deuteronomy 5-16, Ephesians 6/1-2 and Colossians 3/20). Also the elders must on their part train up their children the way of life so that they will not depart from it in their life on this earth.( See Proverbs 22-6)
The younger generation must therefore be alert to learn more from their parents and Elders so that they will look after their parents in later stages.
EXODUS 21-17 is an important verse to be seen by our Youngsters.
In this context we have to remember that the old age is our 2nd Childhood. As we were brought up by our parents we have to return the same service of supporting and caring our parents in their old age. This reciprocal support is our benign duty given to us by God and we have to fulfil that responsibility while on Earth. The modern tendency of sending our dear ones to an old age home or any other distant places will not do justice to our duties towards our Father and & Mother. Please remember that. These elders in these homes will not be happy and in Peace. They always like to be in the same house during the last lap of their earthly journey and any amount of comforts offered in the old age homes will not match with the homely comforts they get in their Homes with their dear ones. Your presence will be a “ Soothing Balm” for their mental agony and bodily pains.
The recent decision of the Supreme Court also subscribe to the fact that the elders should be in their own houses and the children cannot put them elsewhere. According to “The Senior Citizen act 2007”, negligence and desertion in the welfare of parents and Elders is a punishable criminal offence.
Recognition is very important in the relation to our Elders. We must respect them and always accept their disposition and extend a helping hand even if they are not related to us. A waving or gesticulation is enough to keep them happy, as they feel that you are with them. This will give great feelings for those who are lonely with attended problems. Never discard a person in distress. We cannot be Good Samaritan always. But at times when opportunity comes we must render a helping hand.
Now coming back to our topic on Elderly Care and Acceptance of them with due Respect and also sharing their problems in life.
Acceptance of old people
Both the old and young must accept the difficulties of old age. Accepting the disabilities of old age and getting rid of them by mutual support. King David knew his old age limitations and he prayed to God for strengthening him in his old age. He pleaded for long life so that he can pass on to the coming generation about the power and strength of God.i Ref: Paslms 71- 9-18
Joseph accepted his father Jacob and all his belongings and his brothers to Egypt during the famine in Canan, with the permission of King Pharoah, who sent his chariots to bring them to Egypt. Joseph loved and he accepted his brothers who wanted to kill him in the past. Genesis 46-28-34
Ruth accepts Naomi her Mother in law and renders all help to her in her old age. Acceptance follows Respect. Ruth respected her old mother in law and protected her. “Hoary head is a crown of Glory if it be found in the ways of righteousness.” Proverbs 16-31
Respect Elderly persons.
In Exodus 21-17 it is said” He that curses his Father or Mother shall surely be put to Death”. and in Deut: Chapter 5-16, Ephesians 6-1-2 , and Colossians 3-20, we read the portions dealing with our behaviour towards our Elders. “Honour thy Father and Mother as thy Lord and thy God has commanded to thee, that the days may be prolonged and it may go well with thee in the Land which the Lord thy God give thee”.
The children must be brought up to obey and respect the parents and other elderly people. Remember the verses in Proverbs 22-6. Again St. Paul,l while writing to his son ( Not Biological son) but son by faith, tells Timothy to ensure that in Ephesus he cautions them “ Not to Rebuke the Elders but Respect them .The elders as Father and the younger as brother. Elder woman as Mother and younger as sisters! 1st Timothy 5-1