The 'sunset years'

An old man asked his friend, another old man - ‘at our age, what’s preferable, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's?” and the friend replied, ‘definitely Parkinson’s, it is better to spill half a peg of scotch than to forget where you kept your bottle.’

On hearing the joke being shared by youngsters, all the  family members laughed. What kind of signals that adult behaviour would send to the young irresponsible ignoramuses?

Are the diseases mentioned so laughable, is old age such a laughing matter?  The fact is everybody wants a long life, but do not like old age.

In some households, old people are made to feel that they are caught in a shell of isolation, without proper oral communication and without the universal language of ‘touch’.

How ironic is that? All of us have to cross the threshold and enter the gates of old age, that too only if we are lucky. The climate of ‘love’ if prevails in the house, the elderly automatically thrive. Let us teach our children to love our elderly, who are in their sunset years.

Here is a prayer by an old man, which gives an insight into the psyche of old people.
 “My dear God you know that I am growing older. Keep me from becoming too talkative, from repeating all my jokes and anecdotes, and particularly keep me from falling into the tiresome habit of expressing an opinion on every subject.

Release me from craving to straighten out everyone's affairs. Keep my mind free from recital of endless details. Give me wings to get to the point. Give me the grace, dear God, to listen to others as they describe their aches and pains.

Help me endure the boredom with patience and keep my lips sealed, for my own aches and pains are increasing in number and intensity, and the pleasure of discussing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally, I might be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not wish to be a saint (Saints are so hard to live with), but a sour old person is the work of the devil. Make me thoughtful, but not moody, helpful, but not pushy, independent, yet able to accept with graciousness favours that others wish to bestow on me. Free me of the notion that simply because I have lived a long time, I am wiser than those who have not lived so long.

“I am older, but not necessarily wiser! If I do not approve of some of the changes that have taken place in recent years, give me the wisdom to keep silent. God, please know that when the end comes, I would like to have a friend or two left.”

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