This is Elders’ Week
Spreading sunshine in sunset years
By Rev. Canon Padmasiri Bhareti
Do you look forward to old age? Or do you dread it as a time of illness, poverty, sexual indifference, mental incompetence or waiting for death? Most of our old people are relatively healthy and happy. Still a large number would enjoy old age more if not for the misconceptions they hold, where they attribute ailments to old age instead of doing something about it.

The main drawbacks of old age are ignorance, having to take many medications but don't old people also require love and affection?

Doctors must be made to understand that many complaints are not due to old age alone. Alzheimer's or dementia have much to do with memory loss or disorientation. Elders’ homes must be centres of love and care and not boarding houses.

My wife and I spent two weeks with a community of old people in the UK.visiting many dementia hospitals or centres and we saw how love and care were given to those in the eventide of their lives.

The staff in these centres were dedicated. Sri Lanka too, needs such places where the aged are given love. In Sri Lankan society old age is looked down upon as one's fate or karma. Many parents are left to look after themselves.

‘Dev Sri Sevana’, a home for destitute elders was opened by me 11 years ago at Welisara and we have with us happy and contented elders who are taught to care for one another and live together.

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