Caring for and Valuing the elderly

‘Day for Life’, Sunday 19 June, is the day in our calendar set aside to celebrate life from conception to natural death. This year our focus in on caring for and valuing the elderly.

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.
Psalm 71:9

The COVID pandemic highlighted the desperate plight of many older people, especially those in care homes and those struggling with long-term chronic conditions such as dementia.

They carried the highest burden which included prolonged isolation, the distress for families being unable to visit, delayed medical interventions and tragic, isolated, deaths followed by shortened, minimal, funeral rites. Many family members and friends continue to bear the wound of deep grief which hurts and is still in need of healing.

Catechesis on Old Age

In 2022, over a number of weeks, Pope Francis used his weekly Wednesday audience to offer in-depth catechesis on old age. There are many pearls of wisdom in this series including this one:

“The little ones learn the power of tenderness and respect for frailty: irreplaceable lessons that are easier to impart and receive with grandparents. For their part, grandparents learn that tenderness and frailty are not solely signs of decline: for young people, they are conditions that humanise the future.”