Why The Society Ought To Be Kind - Warm And Gentle To Old People

by J. Watananbe - Date: 2007-02-18 - Word Count: 619 Share This!

I went to visit my grandmother last week. She is my mother's mother and she is staying with my uncle (my mother's older bother). She does not have Alzheimer's disease, but her memory is not so good. She has very difficult time remembering things, and she also has hard time doing simple things nowadays. For example, she cannot comfortably take a walk in her neighborhood and come back home. She is no longer capable of managing her money, so my uncle is taking care of it. It is simply impossible for her to understand what exactly I do in my life (I run a small internet business by the way); it is not that she is unintelligent, but her brainpower is not there. She is getting old.

A couple of days before I went to visit my grandmother, my cat disappeared. I picked her up at a park almost twenty years ago; her owner apparently abandoned her. She had a couple of siblings (i.e., sibling cats), and they were all in a box. I could not take them all with me, so I only took her. It has been almost a week since she disappeared; she was getting really old (not many cats live for twenty years or longer) and getting weak, so it is probably fair to guess that she died by now (I feel a bit sad to write this, but that is probably what happened). It's hard to imagine that she managed to survive on her own while no one fed her or provided her space to sleep.

What does my grandmother's old age have anything to do with my cat's old age? Here is the moral of the story. Unless cats are perfectly domesticated, they live rather independently. They go take a walk when they like. They manage to catch mice, birds and insects. They manage to live for days somehow even if their owners are not around. Also I hear that many of them don't just die on a couch or on the floor; they disappear somehow when they realize that their time is up. They can take care of themselves when they die. No one has to be around them.

Can a human take care of himself/herself when he dies of old age? Not really. There are certainly those who die alone, but most of them die while other people are taking care of them. Family members take care of them if they are fortunate. They often die in nursing homes. They also die in hospitals. Basically they, humans, need to be taken care of by other humans when they die. They cannot just sense that their time is up, accept it, move to a peaceful place and die with peace and dignity. Humans are very dependent especially when they get old and be near their death.

The moral of the story is this. Humans will never become like cats that can take care of themselves even when they die. Humans are dependent and they need to be taken care of. Therefore, the society ought to be structured so that it takes care of those who are old, especially those who are old and do not live much longer. The modern society is going backward. The modern society is not kind, warm or gentle to those who are old and do not live much longer. Some say that those who are weak are being eliminated just like the nature eliminates weak ones and sick ones. If humans were like cats, then there would be no flaw in that logic, but humans are not like cats. Humans are fundamentally different; they get very weak as they get older and they even become 'dumb'; no human can avoid that.

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J. Watanabe is the owner of the health discussion forum, HealthTalx Health Discussion Forum. Discussion topics in the forum include organization of healthcare.

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