HOME FOR THE AGED
No matter how you name it, whether it is “Sunshine City,” “Haven,” “Golden Acres,” whatever, a place for abandoned elderly residents aged 60 to 104 is still “home for the aged.” And it is a community where senior citizens converged usually to bid time and await the final verdict of the universe. There are conservative societies however that do not subscribe to this form of handling but time eventually is moving towards the direction of its introduction.
In advanced and liberal countries, this form of elderly management is almost a tradition. Where hospitalization for the aging person is a difficult procedure and even more expensive, homecare facilities are not only convenient but specialized as well.
In the Philippines, elderly management is limited for those abandoned and those who could no longer sustain protracted medical requirements. On the whole, the senior citizen is still considered a sage, an adviser, a sort of consultant and occupies the highest post in the scale of decision making process in the family. That is, if the senior citizen is the patriarch or matriarch of a successful clan. If not, the poor elderly at times resides in a nook and must content himself with morsels and the usual concerned glances of a family member, to be sustained and, there to await what nature has in store for the person.
In olden times, the elderly was expected to give wise counsel. It was John of Patmos on whose writing the last book in the Bible was prepared—the Revelation (also known as Apocalypse, Prophecy or Epistolary). John was in his twilight years and opted to stay in a cave to write his thoughts about how the world would end and the second coming of Lord Jesus Christ. Had he stayed at home together with his children and grandchildren, he would have written only bold and angry graffiti on the walls of his room!
That was how sacred and respected the elderly during ancient times. The same historical consideration would also be attributed to the elderly philosophers in the West (Greece through Socrates, Plato and Aristotle) and in the Orient (India and China through Buddha and Confucius).
Years and several earth shaking technological advances later, the elderly were virtually relegated to a corner and the youth became the face of the universe. The youth are more profound, more daring, bolder and more aggressive. Thanks to the materials which their older predecessors have formulated. The youth are more armed physically and intellectually.
As a consequence, the elderly sector of the population, unable to catch up with the staggering speed of technical developments, must have to repair somewhere. If not in the bosom of their ancestral residence together with their broods and busy family, some are even tied and chained unfortunately, a handful would rather explore the jungles and remote provinces for stress free living, even if only for a while before they confront the angel of death.
And this is the basis of my proposal, done years before I celebrated my golden year. I envisioned a camp where I will gather all elderly released prisoners (including my ageing colleagues, friends, volunteers and allies), provide simple housing, offer simple agricultural plots to maintain and sustain physical routine, involve the private and religious sector and manage it like it was a small village. The point is not to live with our respective families but to be with fellow elderlies, to listen to endless retro music, hear hearty jokes and get hilarity and amusement from every incongruity there is. Living in that town is not isolation; we still can visit our family or our family can still visit us.
The place is also a wi-fi zone thereby connected actively to the world. Hence, we can still link up and contribute to the consciousness of eternity.
That in my mind is the only recourse and preparation before the world, our personal world, would fade away. That way, we will all be remembered by our loved ones for years, in the same manner that John of Patmos is remembered for writing the last book in the Bible.