Compassion counts

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Every single person you encounter could use some compassion and patience. Every difficult experience is an opportunity to ask yourself what truly matters in the grand scope of it all.

Julia Dima

The last couple of years seem to have eroded some of the kindness and compassion that I think used to be evident in our society. And if you are an elderly human, there are times when it seems to actually have vacated and left the building.

The pandemic shone a difficult spotlight on elder care and there was much lip service as to how we as a collective society were going to improve the lives of seniors, especially those living in congregate care. Standards have been developed but true to the economic politics of the day, are just voluntary. So much adieu about nothing, I guess.

I help my elderly mother several days of every week do her grocery shopping, make trips to the bank, and post office and anywhere else she might need to go. One of the sad truisms of these experiences is that she is slower, less steady on her feet, and needs an increasing amount of assistance to support her desire to live on her own. All a bit complicated by increasing memory challenges that may or may not be considered just a normal aspect of aging.

But it is exasperating to watch people in those places we are doing routine kinds of things, become frustrated and impatient as my mother journeys through various activities.

The young man who fidgets and sighs and looks so angry when she searches her wallet for her bank card to pay for her groceries. The older man who makes his annoyance crystal clear when she is getting out of my car in front of a building and takes a fair length of time navigating snowy walkways because he is in a furious hurry and just needs to get by her. The woman with a screaming toddler who is likely managing her own unique situation, but then rudely pushes past and knocks my mother and her cart a few inches from where it had been. Or people who for some reason think my mother can no longer communicate and talk to me instead of to her.

We have probably all had those moments. But really, what does one save in terms of time by behaving this way. And what does it really indicate about our society, our compassion and caring for our elderly seniors. To be in the winter season of life, brings many difficulties, losses, and at times, insurmountable problems. Being able to enjoy the community that you likely helped build over ones lifetime, should just go without saying.

So taking an extra moment to smile, to show patient body language, accepting facial expressions, or to bite your tongue if you have nothing nice to say about a senior who needs more time and space, becomes something we should all try a little harder to achieve. Speak to a senior using eye contact just like you would to anyone else. And really, when you think about it, most of us will be in that place of our lives at some point.

Compassion towards others, especially our seniors, really does count.

Be safe and well!!