RespectMay 12, 2015

There's such a thing as elder abuse, and these incidents often go unnoticed. Many of us take it for granted. Age is the reason. Maybe some are insensitive, while others are unaware that senior people used to be agile and strong. Technology makes longer life possible. This leads to the rise of the aging population, and there have been a sharp increase in the number of senior individuals during the last few decades. Some are worried about its pervasive effects.

Is it possible that there'll be more old people in the near future? Such a question will be dismissed, if not laughed off. But such a scenario isn't hard to imagine in developed countries. As for developing countries, it's rather a case of a population explosion. This is another matter, where different ways of birth control are subjected to religious scrutiny. There's a link to the rise in aging population, though. But let's stick to the heart of the matter.

The United Nations (UN) designates June 15 as the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This campaign focuses on the physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. Many studies predict the global population of people over 60 years of age to exceed the number of young people by the year 2050. This will have an impact on the economy, and it can change the status quo. But this is not a certainy. Yet. Looking at the immediate needs of elders requires lots of time. You only need to be perceptive - and sensitive - about their situation. There's no need to ask their well being every ten minutes or so. You don't have to assist them (unless they ask for it). Here are simple reminders:

It can happen to you. You'll be old, sooner or later, so be kind and courteous to old people. Try to be friendly, even engaging in a conversation. It would be nice if it's a topic of their interest, but there's nothing wrong if you look for a common ground.

Don't forget that solitude is their nemesis. Solitude is not the issue for young people. But it won't be the case twenty years after. Not all old people are incapable of living alone, but many of them are struggling. Some household chores become difficult, if not impossible. Driving may pose some challenges, and failing eyesight is one of the reasons. More health problems, and many of them will be too proud not to admit it. All of these cases are linked to solitude. So don't show pity. Better yet, why not spend some time with them.

Live with them, if not close to them. This is a foreign idea, if not a ridiculous suggestion. The culture dictates to have a place of our own when we're old enough to make a living. But a compromise may be possible. They can be our parent(s), older sibling(s), relative(s). These people mean a lot to us.

Do you other suggestions? How about other ideas? Let us know.

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