Does our responsibility to parents and grandparents end after we send them off to a nursing home or some senior living community? When the housing and care is paid for, do we still need to visit, send letters, cards or make phone calls? After we pass up on the burden of care, to whom do we pass on the responsibility of love? The loneliness and abandonment appears to be more painful than the physical pain some of them endure. Shirley, one of the seniors whom I have particularly become close to at the Nursing home I volunteer at, beams with joy whenever she sees me. She waited for a visit from me during Easter but I did not show. I was under the impression that she will be spending this special day with any of her five kids and 23 grandchildren. But she spent Easter like any other day in the nursing home; no calls or visit, just by herself with an old tv. I felt really bad for not showing up, but then again, could not understand why her own family could not give her a simple call.
Most of the seniors at the nursing home hardly receive any visits and look on jealously when others do. It is hard to think these parents neglected their responsibilities to their children and are merely getting a payback. I wonder if the nuclear family has become so rigid that, grandparents are not considered immediate family anymore. What I’ve learned being around elderly people is, when one reaches the advanced stages of aging, more than material things, they value friendship, companionship or any caring relationship that makes them feel wanted and valued human beings; not some used good. There is a reason why we punish criminals by socially isolating them from society. Some seniors who suffer similar fate are hard working people who gave their all to raise their families and deserve the common courtesy of being loved and appreciated!