Thu | Jun 20, 2024

Letter of the Day | Show some empathy for our senior citizens

Published:Tuesday | June 11, 2024 | 12:06 AM


The rains on the afternoon of Saturday, June 8, provided me with the opportunity to fall into deep sleep. I was awakened at 6.53 p.m. with the loud music from a passing vehicle. The glow from the street light gave the illusion of early dawn, and for five minutes I thought it was Sunday morning. I turned to RJR 94 FM but became disoriented in not hearing the expected programming.

I tried accessing the Sunday papers, and not finding it online, wondered why the papers were late. To add oil to the fire of forgetfulness, I questioned why the date was the June 8 rather than June 9, and why the time and date remained on the June 8. Eventually I called a friend to ask what time and date it was. Then the truth came to bump! It was after 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 8.

This frightening experience gave me a glimpse of our senior citizens who experience dementia.

During the sermon at St Andrew Parish Church on Sunday, June 9, one of our elderly, Dr Margaret Green, shared some of the challenges faced by herself along with that of our senior citizens in Jamaica.

With ageing comes sickness, such as arthritis. Dr Green warned that “if you take too many of the drugs that are supposed to be the ones that we take when we have arthritis, there’s devastating side effects”, and that we often do not recognise pain from osteoporosis, and the cost associated with surgical remedies like joint replacements.

According to Dr Green, “When we age, we have more than one thing wrong with us – you know the hypertension is affecting the heart, or if we have a little sugar, it is going to affect the healing.”

She further said that “the unpredictability of the nation’s high cost of living” affects pension funds, medication and food.

We as a nation often forget that it isn’t only those on PATH or minimum-wage earners who struggle to survive. With an increasingly ageing population living longer, our policymakers need to look at the cost of living as it contributes to eating healthy and access to medical care. It is a fact that electricity has become a burden to many people, even pensioners.

Finally, let us as a people practise compassion and show empathy to one another, especially our senior citizens.


Mandeville, Manchester