Fetalvero: Growing old gracefully

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By Noemi C. Fetalvero

Two empty bottles

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

THERE is no doubt that the familiar pretty faces you often see on this page are women growing old gracefully. However, on top of growing old gracefully some would also like to be ageing successfully.

These are people who are not contented to sit and watch watch the world go by. They are still very much involved in productive activities.

Julia Nueberger wrote a book on what she aptly referred to as “a manifesto for old age.” The book, entitled Not Dead Yet, underlined the things senior citizens frown upon.


Our call to arms
Don’t make assumptions about my age
Don’t waste my skills and experience
Don’t take my pride away
Don’t trap me at home
Don’t make me brain dead, let me grow
Don’t force me into a care home
Don’t treat those who look after me like rubbish
Don’t treat me like I am not worth repairing
Don’t treat my death as meaningless

Don’t assume I am not enjoying life

Sohan Singh, 66 years old, contributed her thoughts in the same book: “Ageism is worse than racism or sexism because there is so little recognition that it is wrong. There is no commission fighting for your rights… Ageing is a little bit like disability in that a lot of the problems are socially created. People may have more or slightly different needs as they get older, but the key thing is to keep people as human beings functioning as fully as possible. It is a society that imposes on you a sense that you are old. I feel pretty young.”

Due to advanced medical technology and scientific discoveries, people live longer. How many of older people in the country live in poverty? Majority do not have pensions and health insurance coverage. How about moving the retirement age from 60 to 65?

Filipinos are clannish and therefore parents, no matter the age, live with their married children. For the most part of the grandparents’ remaining years, they take care of the grandchildren. Seniors should also be involved in volunteer work. They cannot be playing bingo and tong-its in the remaining years of their lives.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 15, 2014.


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