Dos and don’ts for senior citizens : The Tribune India

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Dos and don’ts for senior citizens

Dos and don’ts for senior citizens

Photo for representation. File photo



Wg Cdr DPS Bajwa (Retd)

WHEN my son got his first job in Canada, I asked him about his salary. I presumed it was my right as a father to know how much he was being paid. I was surprised when he told me that in Canada, nobody asked anyone how much he or she earned. That was a culture shock for me. Later, more questions were added to the list, such as ‘never ask a stranger his or her age’, ‘where they belong to’, etc.

Our grandchildren are in their late teens and there are many more ‘guidelines’ for me and my wife. When we recently arrived in Canada and were leaving the airport, our son cautioned us that our granddaughter had put on weight, but we were not to talk to her about this. In our days, it was not a taboo to discuss such things in the family. We considered it normal to give advice on taking corrective steps. But now, as parents or grandparents, we cannot broach this subject as it is construed as body-shaming.

Similarly, when children grow up, parents lose the right to question them about where and why they are going. As grandparents, too, we cannot ask them or advise them. We had to listen to our parents’ advice without questioning them and now we have to be all ears when it comes to our children.

Recently, our son and daughter-in-law went on a two-week vacation, entrusting us with the charge of our two grandchildren. We had a very trying time. It was tough to decide what to cook for them because the moment they learnt it was Indian food, their appetite would vanish. They would find one pretext or the other to order food from outside. Since my wife cannot cook continental dishes, they would just say: ‘We are going to hang out with friends for some time.’ Later, they would return after having dinner. We remained tense and could not go to sleep till they came back.

During this time, our grandson invited his friends to celebrate his birthday. I helped him in getting the drinks and snacks. Before his friends arrived, he gently instructed us to go to our bedroom and not come out during the party. It seemed weird, as if we were not presentable enough. Of course, we would not have interfered in their party, but compulsorily making us invisible was difficult to digest. Later, when I shared this episode with my sister in India, she confirmed that her grandson said the same thing when she visited him abroad.

This restrictive behaviour seems odd, but I find solace in the list of dos and don’ts for the elderly, courtesy of social media. They say that after the age of 65: (i) Learn to live the harsh way; (ii) Talk less and listen more. Do not keep giving advice to everyone; (iii) Don’t keep telling everyone what is hurting you; (iv) Eat whatever is given to you because there are many who go to bed hungry; (v) Learn to live alone because your spouse may pass away anytime; (vi) Fulfil all your wishes without bothering what others will say, or do whatever makes you happy; (vii) Never feel what is left in life now, because dried fruit is always more expensive than the fresh!

#Canada


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