Opinion

It’s All Our Responsibility To Look After Our Elderly

  Remarks by Rusila Sevudredre, 76, a retired nurse, at Fiji’s First Biennial General Assembly of Older Persons on Tuesday deserve our serious consideration. She said: “These days there has
15 Dec 2016 18:02
It’s All Our Responsibility To Look After Our Elderly

 

Remarks by Rusila Sevudredre, 76, a retired nurse, at Fiji’s First Biennial General Assembly of Older Persons on Tuesday deserve our serious consideration.

She said: “These days there has been vast changes to how children treat their grandparents. In our time we respect them like they are our gods. But now children even fight with them. It’s really painful and sad. I think our voices will be heard now.”

Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, says the general assembly creates an ideal and elevated platform for policy makers, partners and older persons themselves, to have a voice in the specific development agenda and its implementation.

Ms Sevudredre represents the silent group of grandparents who have had bad experiences in their relationships with family and relatives in their old age. They now have a forum in which to air their views and grievances.

Lack of knowledge about the physiological changes that occur to people as they age and their associated emotional changes often leads to misunderstanding and contentions in the family. Ms Sevudredre alluded to this in her statement.

Medical experts say as the aging process continues the cardiac output decreases, blood pressure increases and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the walls of arteries) develops.

Medics say lean body mass declines with age and this is primarily due to loss and atrophy of muscle cells. They add degenerative changes occur in many joints and this, combined with the loss of muscle mass, inhibits elderly patients’ locomotion. These changes with age have important practical implications for the clinical management of elderly patients.

The National Council of Older Persons (NCOP) must be commended for the work it does behind the scene to raise public awareness and improve service delivery for old people.

It provides grants based on applications for support funding to specific agencies. Twelve organisations have been registered under the NCOP.

We recognise that the traditional family structure, which takes care of its elderly at home until they die, is gradually breaking down.

The pressures of the modern cash economy has forced not only the husband but the wife also to look for paid jobs. The days of the wife staying home are long gone.

When no one is at home to look after the elderly, the family either hires a maid to care of them or the family puts them in an old people’s home.

In many instances, the elderly’s special needs, are misunderstood.

In some cases, the elderly requires special medical care and they should be in special institution like a hospital or old people’s home where they can be treated and cared for.

If they are placed in a special home, they should not be left there and virtually forgotten by the family.

They should be regularly visited by family and relatives to maintain that valuable connection. They should not be made to feel that they are either a burden to the family or are unwanted.

The general assembly will provide the forum for frank and open discussion on how best we can look after our elderly.

They are our responsibility. We are all responsible for ensuring that our elderly still enjoy a quality of life that gives them peace and joy in their twilight years. We owe it to them because without them we would not be here today.

 

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

 


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