Friday, July 11, 2008

RESPECT FOR THE ELDERLY

From FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

VOICES Friday July 11 2008 TODAY

 

BY Dr James Dobson

 

Many years ago, I saw a TV documentary that I’ve never forgotten. It focused on the life of an elderly woman named Elizabeth Holt Hartford, who lived alone in a Los Angeles slum.

 

These were her parting words, which were aired after her death a few weeks later.

 

She said: “You see me as an old lady who’s all broken down with age, but what you don’t understand is that this is me in here. I’m trapped in a body that no longer serves me. It hurts, is wrinkled and diseased, but I haven’t changed. I’m still the person I used to be when this body was young.”

 

Those who are younger may find it difficult to appreciate the full implications of being part of the “unwanted” generation, to be aged in a time dominated by the young, to be unable to see or hear well enough, to have an active mind ― like Ms Hartford ― that’s hopelessly trapped in an inactive body, to be dependent on busy children, to be virtually sexless, emotionally and physically, in an eroticised society, to be unable to produce or contribute anything really worthwhile, to have no one who even remembers your younger days.

 

A gastroenterologist once told me that 80 per cent of his older patients have physical symptoms caused by emotional problems. Despair is quickly translated into bodily disorders. Obviously, self worth is essential to well-being at all ages. Let’s extend our love and respect to those who have passed their prime.

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