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Lonliness is frightening

Discussion in 'TV' started by vidyasarada, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. vidyasarada

    vidyasarada Senior IL'ite

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    During the commercial break of a TV programme I was watching, when a uniformed Pizza Delivery boy appeared onscreen, i was about to hit the remote wishing to skip yet another pizza ad, whem something stopped me. The lighting of the scene was sombre, there was no merry jingle or any usual ambience that heralds a new Pizza. On the screen, the boy goes to an apartment, knocks, calls and waits. In the silent, dark apartment, there's only one wheelchair bound old man. As the boys lays the pizza box on the table, the old man locks the door from inside and throws away the key. There is a look of terror on the boy's face. Then the wording appears " Lonliness is curable". It hit me square on my head. I ended up with a lump in my throat.

    We all see lonely old people around us, yet do precious little to lessen their lonliness. Caught up as we are in our own affairs of mundane living, we keep putting off our good intentions. " I'll give a surprise party on his birthday", "we'll take her to Rameswaram when the weather gets better...." " I'll write a letter to Aunt Rukmini tomorrow......." Alas, tomorrow never comes. The weather never gets better .And when that birthday arrives, he has departed.

    I shudder to think that not too far off is the day when I myself will be in that silent, empty apartment.

    VS
     
  2. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Very thoughtful of you...

    Dear Vidyasarada,

    What a nice post. Old people are not given much thought in society. We think of the downtrodden, abuse of children, women etc etc. I think Old people are often forgotten.
    Besides many ailments. there are many other factors such as loneliness that affect the old people.
    I am glad that such ads are made.

    L, Kamla
     
  3. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Vidhyasarada,
    That was a sad , but revealing post.....it is really frighteneing sometimes , to think of loneliness. ANd countries like here, i see a lot of these menand women, who even at 80 or 90 are on their own, and do their work ....and ofcourse they dont have these extended family concepts etc. Also with the weather beng so depressing most parts of the year it does feel frightening.
    That was nice of you to share this thought with us!
     
  4. Manjureddy

    Manjureddy Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sudha, Kamla and Vidyasarada
    I read all three opinions and want to add mine to this thread.

    Lonliness is something that can affect anyone of any age, but it only seems pitiable and aggravating in old persons because of the added misery of their infirmity.
    In todays world everybody is busy with their own lives, as you all agree. It is not fair to expect another person to provide company and keep one entertained always. Wise people will develop their own curriculum to keep occupied. Even old and weak people can surely read books or listen to music.
    Senior citizens have led their lives, have had their fun and old age is the time to slow down and step aside to allow the march of the succeeding generations. They should spend their time "Going Inwards" as philosophers say. The basic idea of Vanaprasthashrama is a very practical solution .

    Two years ago, I had volunteered as a Care-Giver in an NGO and was assigned to some old-age retreats, Geriatric wards in hospitals and to work as "companion" for senior citizens living with families. I can tell you from experience that 90% of old people are crabby, egoistic, stubborn, nit-picking, preachy and full of self pity. They all unfailingly remark that the world is going to dogs and young people are a zoo-full of monsters. Tell me, how is it possible to give company to such hostile personalities 24/7 ? It is all very idealistic to say "Love can work miracles", but sorry, we dont live in Munna Bhai movies or Mother Theresa Convents ; we have lives of our own to contend with.
    Companionship is a costly commodity today. Even children, for whom it is more important,are not getting enough of it. And think of little orphans. Why should old people who have finished leading a full life anyway, complain ?

    I am not anti-senior citizens. But this is my frank opinion. I am sorry if it hurts any old person's feelings.

    Manjula
     
  5. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Manjula,

    I agree that loneliness hits all people. But only as we grow older, having enjoyed all good company and having had a good time inlife that it feels more. Of course i agree that theolder we get we have to occupy ourselves with other activities and not have self pity. That is true , about old people being all the things that you have quoted that too based on your experiences! Why senior citizens, what about our own parents who are growing older , or uncles , aunts etc! I have been noticing how they change......some adapt very well, taking life as it comes, and accepting old age, loneliness and not blaming others for their lonely feeling! But there are many, who get depressed an dmake their lives also hell and others life around them also!
    All we can think here is how to keep ourselves active and feel lonely , so that we dont turn into such old people.
    I knew a older lady here, my friend's m-i-l who died last oct ,....she was staying alone in Switzerland and died at the age of 83! She opted to stay alone though her sons are all here, 8and all oving peple)....but we have all learnt such lovely lessons from her! She was such a positive person, would travel alone, and visit all of us in trains with her d-i-l.....she gave us so much positive energy , that all of us felt that we have to be like her....active and and so full of love and wisdom and she never complained about loneliness, though she had opted to stay alone!
    So it is up to us, to choose the way we want to live life! Don't worry Manjula, your post made me also think more on this line, while my previous post was just a reply to Vidhyasaradha's post!
     
  6. meenakrishnan

    meenakrishnan Bronze IL'ite

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    Painful truth of fading youth

    Dear Vidya,
    That was really touching. We all are ultimately alone.We came alone.Will die alone one day.In between we keep ourselves entangled with so many bonds.I f we love ourselves we are never lonely.When we are young and healthy, loneliness can be nourishing too. We enjoy the silence, sometimes take important decisions without others intruding. But old people need loving company and kind words. If any good idea strikes your mind let me know. We can bring smiles on wrinkled faces:)
     
  7. meenakrishnan

    meenakrishnan Bronze IL'ite

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    In search of harmony

    Dear Manju,
    Liked your frankness and I agree with Sudha Narasimhan totally. One has to keep himself engaged in good things and to the extend possible should not depend on anyone or expect anything from anyone.But is it possible for everyone? Those affected by natural calamities, those who lost their dear ones in accidents or diseases, those who were cheated by close ones will usually have frustrations.They don't trust anyone.Why do they come to hospitals? Having a positive attitude and inclination towards spirituality can keep life going smoothly to some extent,provided there is financial security. 'I don't need anyone's help' is a lso a 'veempu'.In nature, mutual dependance is inevitable. Anyway,good topic for discussion:)
    Meena
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2007
  8. vidyasarada

    vidyasarada Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Manjula
    You dont have to say sorry for giving your honest opinion. I welcome it for it gives another perspective to the issue and prods us to think why old people become lonely in the first place. Is it because of their attitudes ?
    Like Sudha's example shows, lonliness is not an inevitable byproduct of old age. If the person is lively enough he does not have to capture pizza delivery boys for company !
    Your experience as a caregiver has no doubt influenced your rather harsh opinion. Old Age asylums and Geriatric wards do not bring out the best in people, so it would be uncharitable to generalise their shortcomings as text-book symptoms of old-age in general. There are many who are cheerful and uncomplaining also.

    There are old people living with families who feel lonely and neglected too. The least we can do when we meet them, in gatherings like a wedding, is to sit down and say a friendly word. They may want to tell you about their arthritis or an unruly grandchild . We can listen with empathy and then move on, leaving them happy. It doesn't take much to send out the signal that there are people thinking about them.
    As you say, we cant all be Munna Bhais and Theresas. But we can be standard-issue Human Beings , acknowledging old members of our own species with the occassional hug. Even lesser primates do that.

    It was nice reading your response, Manjula. You express yourself well.

    Vidyasarada
     
  9. vidyasarada

    vidyasarada Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Meena
    That was a sweet response. Your readiness to Do Something is really worth appreciating and infectious :-D.
    So let us put on our Thinking Caps, shall we ?

    Vidyasarada
     
  10. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Manjureddy...

    I enjoyed reading your viewpoint on this topic. I am impressed! Very few venture out to say anything negative about looking after older people as the society in general rises up in indignation against such thoughts, never mind how they may behave privately! You braved to air your views in a public forum in spite of this. I too must agree with what you say. It can be the most frustrating feeling to look after older people who are ungrateful and demanding. That is why it is all the more difficult to care for them without any expectations.
    It is quite different in the western countries where their social and family structure is different. They do not feel obliged to look after their elders, plenty of old age homes and other facilities are available. Like Sudha mentioned, I too know of many old people who have opted and lived gracefully by themselves till illness intervened and even then, had facilities to take care of them till their end. It does not mean that their children did not love them, they did. When it is their turn to get old, they too will follow the similar path.
    Our culture is different and we believe in taking care of the elders, never mind how mean and evil they may have been in their lifetime. It is a vicious circle and a no win situation. Even the talk of sending our elders to an old age home shocks us. But at times, I think it is a better alternative than the old person suffering at the hands of an unwilling and uncaring son/daughter/-in-law.
    All of us know that we will all turn old, God willing, and have to traverse that path. If we can do that with dignity, it would be great. But even for that, I think we need His blessings. Who knows what awaits any of us?
    Considering the fast changing life patterns in India, I think more attention should be paid to old age homes and other such care facilities. They are necessary as the 'today's' older people have lived vibrant lives and also need their independence. But will this ever happen? There is so much 'taboo' about not caring for the elders. Few will come out in the open and spell out the difficulties of such interaction. But it is high time that all of us gave a deep thought to this problem which will Never go away.
    I might have digressed a bit, but I often think about this problem that exists everywhere and know of people who are going through these dilemmas, both children and their older relatives.

    L, Kamla
     

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