Monday, September 15, 2014

Respecting the Elderly

''The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected'' - Robert Frost
A month ago, I met an old Japanese-man who fluently speaks in English. My friends and I were planning to go to a river in that small town where the man lives. This man is the only staff in the small tourist information. At that time, I just wanted to ask how we can go to the river. However, the old man did not only show us how to get to the river but he also talked about his life as a trader, his initiatives in tourism, his thoughts on politics and his experiences abroad. I think he would have continued talking had we not cut him off (as politely as possible). Clearly, the old man's thirsty for companionship. I would gladly listen to him if only we didn't have some place to go. Sometimes, the only thing old people need is someone who'll listen to them. It's not because they want to talk nonstop but because they want to feel they still matter.

Today, Japan celebrates Respect for the Old Age Day. I think about that old man hoping that someone's listening to him today. In connection to this holiday, here are some articles related to aging;

1. Weekend Extra: Japan's Old-Age Challenge

This article discusses the possibility of  ''second career'' for retired Japanese people. The Japanese are known to work for one company all throughout their lives until retirement. Their jobs also define them during younger years. After retirement, retirees often had a hard time adjusting to not working. They had to deal with so much time in their hands but not much money. To address these, Weekend Extra: Japan's Old Age Challenge, the writer discusses possible working opportunities for the elderly.

2. Japan's solution to providing care for an ageing population

Writer, Holly Holder, provided a glimpse on Japan's health and pension system for the elderly. She discussed these in comparison to England's existing policies (or the lack thereof). She explored the benefits and the flaws of the system and how it fares compared to England's.

3. How Japan stood up to old age

Written in the same vein as that of Article No. 2, this piece zooms in on how the Japanese government address it's aging population. Using real old people in Japan for illustration, David Pilling painted a more positive Japanese society towards it's elderly. He extensively discussed the elderly's health care, life style and work opportunities.

4. Japan's Graying Population Needs New Solutions, Not Old Failures

In this piece, the writer discussed economic issues that Japan face due to the overwhelming number of old people. Compared to other articles that simply rant on Japan's troubles, Nathan Lewis actually provided possible solutions worthy of consideration for policy-making.

5.How the elderly are treated around the world. 

This is a light features on how different cultures care for the old people. It's interesting to know that only a fraction of the world's culture seem to be an ideal environment for the elderly.

In a world obsessed with youth, the topic of aging is not a very pleasant one. Ironically, it's something no one can escape and everyone has to face. So I say. let's give the proper care and respect our elders need. Don't think anymore whether they deserve it or not. And let's hope that when the twilight years of our own lives come, we also get the care and respect we need.

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