Saturday, November 01, 2014

Looking out for our senior citizens



"Sure I'm for helping the elderly. I'm going to be old myself someday." 

Lillian Gordy Carter

was talking to Jay on the phone. The music was blaring and I told him I was at a party. Jay said I was Chuck Norris hardcore for attending a midday rave on a Saturday. 

Whilst we both giggled I felt a sort of muffled slap on the back. I was in Sam's 99p store in Barking Centre and turned round to see this very sweet old lady stricken on the floor. 

My first absurd reaction was that it was a joke, until her pleading eyes widened and she reached out towards me. I crouched down, rubbed her arm, and spoke to her to check that she was in control of her senses. She was fine on the faculty front and was frail voiced but totally coherent. 

A nice lady, staff member and I helped her up onto a makeshift box seat. A customer gave her a Kitkat for a sugar rush and another staff member bought water. I kept talking to her. Her name is Patricia. Poor Patricia lost her husband four months ago and has been depressed and ill. "He was my life, and I'm so lost without him," she whispered. 

The poor thing kept apologising: "I've been so silly," she kept muttering. I reassured her that nothing could be further from the truth. 

Patricia revived sufficiently enough for me to escort her onto her seat on the ELI heading to Ilford. I'm content in the knowledge that she has very supportive neighbours. In fact she told me that the boy in the house is also called Emdad. I gave her my card as insurance. Patricia has a blank cheque with me now. 

The encounter stirred my thoughts. 

We must look out for the elderly, especially during the harsh winter. I don't care what anyone says but our parents have an ironclad right over us and it is primarily our duty to care for them. 

If we have elderly neighbours we should keep contact with them and ask them if any chores need doing or if any support can be provided. Senior citizens are proud people rightfully, and will be loathe to ask for assistance for fear of inconveniencing others. With that in mind we should befriend them and keep a check on them whilst respecting their right to privacy.  

It's the very least members of a progressive society should do. 

In the digital age there is no excuse for non contact. Remember, they sacrificed their yesterday's for our today's. 

Minutes after leaving Patricia on the bus I had to catch up with the family in Vicarage Fields and my first job was to confront a bullying Ugandan gentleman in Asda, who had decided to publicly berate the missus and kids. I abhor bullies with a vengeance, so gave him the full monty. Part of the problem is that there is more space in a pig pen than in Asda, Barking. It also attracts the cream of the asylum crop. The fiery gentleman was quite a contrast when compared to the ever grateful Patricia. That's just human nature in a nutshell for you.

I have just resumed my conversation with Jay who say's it's probably my charm and snaking hips what makes the fairer axe swoon and keel over. 

And who am I to dispute that!

"The way the elderly are treated, and in some cases warehoused and medicated, rather than nurtured and listened to, is distressing."

Bill Nighy

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