On Growing Old

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Perhaps, this subject is what worries many of us when we reach this stage in our lives.

• Who will look after me when I am no longer productive?

• Who will hold my hand when I am slowly wasting away?

• How will life treat me day by day?

• How will I feed myself with my feebled mind and shaky hands?

• Will my children be around on my dying day?

Scary, isn’t it?

Being an Asian, a Filipino at that, growing old may be the least of my worries. Like most Asians, our culture dictates respect and caring of our elders. It is a way to repay our parents for what goodness they have bestowed upon us from cradle to our formative years.

Unlike our Western counterparts, Filipinos are clannish by nature. They stick together as one solid family through thick and thin under one roof. Don’t take this literally. What I mean to say is — Filipinos are so bonded together and never forget to look after their elders no matter where they may be. They are always there to give a helping hand by all means possible. Even during the final days of their parents they would steal beg or borrow, so to speak, just to extend the life of their dying love ones for a few more years, a few months, weeks, days or even a few hours. This asian culture and moral responsibility makes us differ from the West.

At age 18, an American or any Western nationality for that matter, has to leave his family and fend for himself. Just like a bird, its time to leave the nest and live your life where destiny takes you. It is like being “kicked out” of your house to be on your own. That’s how the Western culture is like. While Asians are more conservative in viewing life, Westerners take a more liberal stance.

Both have their pros and cons if you look at it more intently. To some, the Western way may be good in terms of being independent minded. To some, it is a point of no return. Meaning, once you’ve left your house then YOU ARE OUT! No wonder homes for the aged proliferated the Western world way ahead of some Asian countries.

Here in the Philippines, homes for the aged started only during the mid 70’s. There were a handful of this homes introduced by Western religious charitable institutions or foundations back then. Today, these homes still exist but its aged residents still remain very minute if compared to the current 100 million Filipino population. In other words, Filipinos would prefer caring for their elders by themselves rather than commit them to homes for the aged.

In general, our Western counterparts would readily send their aging parents to these homes instead of personally taking care of them. Perhaps, they don’t have the time for their elders or maybe they have faith in their social welfare system. Such is not the case for Asians. I, for one still remains single and is past my mid life, but I believe my family will somehow be there for me when that time comes. Without any kids to cling to, there will always be a close relative I can count on for sure. Perhaps a niece, nephew or a cousin.

Who knows I may find Mr. Right Guy after all. It’s never too late (LOL)!

However, looking at the worst case scenario should fate dictate that I be housed in a home for the aged, I would grab myself a guitar and will be one with Beatle Ringo Starr in singing his top hit — WHEN I’M 64…

“When I get older losing my hair many years from now…

Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine…

When I get up till quarter to three, will you lock the door…

Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four…”

I love the Beatles! At least Paul McCartney and Ringo who are past their 60’s aren’t living in a home for the aged.

[Originally published at bitLanders.com rated 4/5 Star]

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