THE FORGOTTEN ONES: THE LONESOME POPULATION OF ELDERLY IN AMERICA

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“Everybody has to get old; who will care for you?”

As we age in society most of us contemplate what will come of ourselves as we get older. Will we be able enough to care for ourselves or will we need assisted living? Will there be someone there to check in on us like a friend or family or will we be placed in a care facility? For most people, no one wants to be placed in an elderly facility. We call them, “Old Folks Homes,” and they carry so many negative connotations. From the neglect of no one coming to see them or the physical and mental abuse some endure while they are there at the hands of staff members. But what I am writing about is not just living in an assistant living facility, but the loneliness elderly people face.

Walking the streets of New York City, you see elderly men and women who have no friends and no family. And for the ones who do have loved ones, the close relatives don’t even bother coming around to visit them. So the elderly sit around bored and alone. Some who are physically unable to leave confines of their homes, so they just wither away. I read in the newspaper or even watch the news about how elderly men and women in the housing projects never leave their apartments; especially during the winter months. It’s no wonder a lot of them face mental issues or their memories diminish. There is nothing around them to keep their minds sharp. I had a grandmother (my mother’s mother) who passed away, but it was a physical ailment. Outside of that, she was an able bodied woman. As for other people her age, a lot weren’t.

But why, why do we leave the older generations not cared for, even though we ourselves have to get old one day? Do we do it because we don’t care? Or is it because we have to make a living for ourselves in today’s society? A lot of it has to do with having to live in society yourself. If you are the everyday working man or woman, you have to be out earning in society. So trying to care for a parent or other relative is tough. And with a lack of jobs, people are forced to work more now than ever. So the idea of working multiple jobs is a reality. Now you’re going to have even more people aging and left alone. I don’t think people are careless, it’s just you have to work so hard at yourself it’s tough to care for another close to you.

In the end, the aging population of men and women in America is growing because due to modern medicine people are living longer. Does that mean even more lonely and shutout citizens? The upside to all this is that we have more able bodied elderly. As a matter of fact, my mother and her sisters are considered elderly, but by their ability to be mobile they are far from it. You wouldn’t know that these are women who have officially become the elderly. Because 60 years old in the past was old, it’s still young in the world today. So maybe there is some good that could come from the new aging population.

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