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A special appeal for the elderly

A special appeal for the elderly

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Each year at Christmas, many Vincentian organizations and individuals reach out to needy persons or families in the spirit of love and goodwill that should characterize this season.

Much of our giving is directed at children, the elderly and the less fortunate, which is commendable.

While giving handouts at Christmas and other times is commendable, what the under priviledged, particularly the elderly, need is more attention from us. Too many of them feel irrelevant and powerless at this time of their lives, which is supposed to be golden.

This concern is of particular significance this year, when many of our elderly citizens scaled back their outings and socialization for fear of becoming infected with the Covid-19 virus. Many of them are unwilling to venture into Kingstown to conduct business because of the special vulnerability of older citizens.

How much of a difference we could make if we made more time, all year round, to run errands, chat with, and show acts of concern to our parents, grandparents, and other older persons in our community who impacted positively on us when we were growing up.

We very often boast that we are a Christian society, but to be honest, are we really? The increasing intolerance and selfishness, which is manifesting itself in our society, is certainly worrying. There are tales of senior citizens being abused by family members, as well as strangers, once they begin to slow down and can no longer contribute to the home and be as assertive and independent as they once were.

Certainly, caring for our aging relatives can be a drain emotionally, physically, and sometimes financially. And for many, the easiest way to escape the stress of witnessing our elders decline is to distance ourselves from them. But we should not, cannot, allow this creeping uncaring attitude of ingratitude to take root.

James, the brother of Jesus, in Chapter 1 verses 26-27 of his Epistle, admonishes us as good Christians to lend a helping hand to the vulnerable among us: the widows and the fatherless, and certainly, the elderly. James must have been taught these principles by the Good Lord himself.

The plight of our elderly should also be a wake up call to those still in good health and in the active workforce. Are we planning adequately for our retirement? This means preparing not only financially, but also taking care of our health today, to lessen our chances that the quality of our life in later years would be compromised by lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

So this Christmas, we make a special appeal for the elderly. Many of the blessings we now enjoy were built on the foundation of their sweat and sacrifice. Let our interaction with them not be just out of obligation, but done with true love, gratitude and understanding, reflecting true Christianity. Happy Christmas, everyone.