Thursday, May 16, 2013

I am disgusted....but what can I do?

I am going to delay the promised post of Young Men to Fathers until tomorrow.  I have something else I need to share and hope I am not alone in the way I feel.  I have worked in healthcare for nearly 20 years.  I began my career as a medical assistant and now have a degree in health care administration.  I love my job.  I am currently working in geriatrics and I love working with our elderly population.  Working with our elderly population can also be extremely heartbreaking at times.

We have nursing homes, assisted living facilities, senior communities, and other types of housing and assistance for our elders.  We have families that don't feel they have another option for mom and dad or grandma and grandpa than a facility of some sort when they can no longer live safely at home alone.  There are great facilities in this country.  There are mediocre facilities in this country and there are a pathetic, sad excuses for facilities in this country.  Many, if not most, of our elders live on fixed incomes with the inability to afford more than basic necessities.  Often, they must make decisions between food and medicines during the month because their social security checks are not enough to cover the cost of both. 

In East Texas, where I live, there are some of our elders that do not have running water in their homes.  They do not have heat during the wintertime, so they leave their gas cook stove burners on all night just to take the chill out of the air.  Many of them do not have adequate nutrition because they cannot afford the cost of the foods they need to buy for optimal health.  They instead purchase cheaper foods of convenience, which are not healthy choices in most cases.  Many of them are on a waiting list for Meals-on-Wheels (a government funding program that delivers one meal a day Monday through Friday) but the program doesn't deliver in some rural areas.  Or the funding has been depleted because of the vast need in this rural, depressed economic area.  

Where are these elders children and family? 

We...this society, this country...are throwing our elders away as though they have nothing left to contribute to our way of life.  As if they are non-productive members of society.  Why have we forgotten how our country was built and who gave us the way of life we now enjoy?

Our elders fought wars to protect our way of life.  When Japan attacked Hawaii, our elders responded with vengeance because of their love for this country.

Our elders built our infrastructure.  Who do we believe is responsible for our interstate systems, our highways and byways?  It is our elders! 

Our elders lived through and/or were born during the Great Depression.  And survived.  We have not experienced anything as vastly devastating as that time in our country's history as younger generations. 

Our elders have wisdom and knowledge that only comes from experience and living life.  Are we so arrogant to think that they know nothing?  That they have nothing to share with us?  That we cannot learn from the events that took place during their lives?

Do they not deserve honor and respect from the younger generations for their sacrifices?

The Body of Christ is told that:

James 1:27 - Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Are we visiting our widows in their time of trouble?  Are we stepping as the Body of Christ and providing what our elders need to sustain them through their latter years? 

Or do we believe it isn't our problem?  After all, he/she isn't my grandmother/grandfather.  But he or she is someone's grandmother or grandfather.   Why do we let the gutters fall off their houses or the paint chip away?  Why do we let their steps on their front porch rot away?   Why do we let them go without food because their medications are too expensive? 

We need to stop saying, "Yeah, but what can I do?"  We need to look around us.  We need to engage our elders.  We need to pay attention to our neighbors.  We need to make sure they understand we will not forget them!  They are important.  They are loved.  They are respected.  They are cared for. 

It is not the government's job to provide for our elders.  It is ours.  Will the Body of Christ please step forward?

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