OK, so I’m a day late, but I have a good reason – I was helping my grandmother.
In today’s society, the weak, disabled, and the old are not respected like they used to be. They are sometimes viewed as too much trouble or work, they are not respected for their wisdom and knowledge, they are not visited because its inconvenient or ‘who knows what to talk to them about’. They are mistreated in nursing homes and not treated with dignity. It is easier to advocate for euthanasia rather than allow them to ‘suffer’ because they can no longer walk or may be in pain. It is just sad how we treat (or I should say, mistreat) our elderly.
As Catholics, we are called to respect life, from conception to natural death. This includes giving time and dignity to the elderly, and not just stuffing them into a home to never be visited or moving away so we have a ‘valid excuse’ to not take care of them. It is treating them with respect as human beings and treating their feelings as valid and real. It is helping them out when they need help, coming to their aid when they are hurting, it is giving them a hug or holding their hand when they need human touch.
I have helped my mother take care of her mother (my Nana) for over two years now, and it has been a blessing to me. It is a way for me to give back to my mom for all that she has done for me all of my life and a way to give her back some of her precious time because she is also so very busy. It is also a way for me to spend time with my Nana, to help her out in any way that she needs from getting groceries to help getting her dressed and off to an appointment. She has become very needy but still would like to stay at home. Even just giving her a call to offer a kind word or let her talk brings her comfort and allows her to feel like she isn’t so isolated in her own home.
It is not always easy, and may take a lot of your time, but you will be blessed for what you do.
If you still have your grandparents or parents who need help, tend to their needs whatever they may be. If you have a neighbor who is elderly, get to know them and check in on them a few times a month or more. Show them that you care by doing simple chores around the house or picking up extra fruit or food for them at the store. Even bringing flowers on special occasions is a simple gesture to show that you are thinking of them.
Matthew 25: 37-40 – Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
1 Timothy 5:1-2 – Do not rebuke an older man but exhort him as you would a father; treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity.
Sirach 2:11 – For a man’s glory comes from honoring his father, and it is a disgrace for children not to respect their mother.
Catholic Upgrade: Respect your elders and call someone today who you haven’t spoken with for a while. Talk with respect to people who are older than you, even they have some form of memory issue or may be disrespectful to you.