We have heard many comments about our senior citizens during the Coronavirus as being “vulnerable, high risk” and other adjectives. Probably no greater words could be said about those who are our Fathers, Mothers and Grandparents than “Living Treasure.”
This is what the Japanese call their seniors. This is what we should be calling our own seniors. The Japanese even have a day in September each year called “Respect for the Aged Day.” Their children are taught from the beginning of life to show complete honor and respect to the elderly. Can we say that about our young people in America? The teachings, if there, have not been heeded by those who are now out night after night destroying the businesses of their seniors.
My experience, when in Japan, was that the children there still have great respect for those who are much older. My hair was grey (inherited from my father who was grey at 30). Many of the older, Japanese women dye their hair black, but not all. Actually, I have been happy with being snow white on the top. It saves alot of beauty parlor expenses.
As for the seniors of Japan, I began to research some traits that they share because they have some of the longest living citizens in the world.
In Japan, those 65 and older now account for more than one in five of the population, making it the world’s most elderly. And their numbers continue to grow. (Global Post)
This is what I found that they believe is important and probably accounts for their longevity.
- Self Determination On living alone, “No one gives me orders.”
- Sit on the floor to eat or work (In America, our elderly mostly would have trouble getting off the floor.)
- Drive until they are 95 years old.
- Physical activity and MOVEMENT: bending, carrying, digging in gardens, biking, hiking etc.
- Socialization: Staying connected with family and friends (Singing, games, gardening, having fun with festivals)
- Eating correctly: Vegetables, fish etc. (Grows fresh vegetable in small gardens.)
- Religious beliefs (They acknowledge divinity in most of nature.)
- Traditions (Keeping their history and abilities alive to the following generations who are willing to learn.)
- Creativity: paintings, woodworking, artistic endeavors of all kinds, poetry
When you read over this list, it does include Socialization. The importance of this cannot be over-emphasized. The Japanese believe this has a great benefit to mental and emotional health. We know this is true and probably the most devastating thing that has happened to seniors during the 2020 virus was the isolation from family and friends in nursing homes and assisted living areas.
Recently we were told of a man confined to an isolated health care because of the virus. His wife was unable to visit as has been the case for months, until our Florida Governor finally removed that directive. Even still, some facilities have been slow in responding.
After pleading with his wife to get him out, which she had no power to do so, he became gravely depressed, stopped eating and died shortly afterwards. How tragic this is for this man and his family. There has to be a better way to control disease. Protecting our elderly should not be at the expense of their will to live.
An even more shocking situation in Japan and even at times in the States…perhaps around the world…is the fact that some seniors who find themselves destitute will commit crimes, such as stealing or shop-lifting to be arrested. Why? Because in jail, they have three meals a day, a warm place to sleep and people to talk with. This has become such a problem in Japan that some jails have wings that are strictly for the elderly. The police say that loneliness is a big issue. They are sometimes helped by other inmates when they have problems such as bed-wetting. Hard to believe? Perhaps we need to take a hard look at reality.
The Holy Scriptures tell us this about our responsibilities:
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:2,3
Americans must take notice of the importance of not only physical health, but emotional health. Total isolation has been the CAUSE of many elderly deaths We are told that fresh air, space and masks are good choices to prevent the spread of disease. Most facilities have outdoor patios and can take the temperature of visitors, if they are really thinking of the needs of their patients. Isolation is definitely NOT the best solution.
My dear Uncle John will be 98 in December and lives alone in his home in North Carolina. He is a living testimony to the difference in being confined in a medical facility, which he was for a short time, as compared to living in his own home that he has had for over 50 years. Everything is familiar. Friends stop by to see how he is doing with social distancing. Family members can come, which is important to him. As long as he is able, this is where he wants to be. I think he would say, as well as other seniors, the key is to KEEP MOVING! I thought of Uncle John when I heard the Japanese man on the video below. Their independence of thought, and inter-dependence on those around them, life is what we make of it.
Our elderly have given the world much in their contributions to our modern way of life. Many young people of Japan are moving away from the villages and agricultural pursuits to find work in the cities. The specialties that has been passed down from generation to generation may be lost unless the young people see the value in learning the skills, which often take years to learn.
We, here in America, are losing daily the seniors we call “The Greatest Generation.” These were the men and women who went off to war in order to keep freedom and democracy a way of life. Our elderly today, are certainly our “NATIONAL TREASURE.” This should not be forgotten.
This video below is a glimpse into the lives of seniors in Japan, who are dealing with aging. Perhaps we can rearrange our living style and learn something from them.
Turn on your sound. Written English translation (Ignore any commercials…they are short or you can click passed them.)
A few young people have seen the value of the traditions and have come back to open bed and breakfasts or shops using the skills that have been handed down for generations.
Noriaki Tsujino is one of only 20 professional craftsmen in Japan who makes wagasa. (Photo: Freestate Productions Link included)
September 25, 2020 | Categories: books by N.W.Boyer, Books by Nancy W. Boyer, Books for young people, Books of Inspiration, Boyer Writes, Community, Death and Life, Encouragement, Family, Health, Important to know, Life Style, Life's Difficulties | Tags: 1 Timothy 5:8, aging, assisted living, Christianity, Coronavirus, creativity, eating for long life, emotional health, Ephesians 6:2, isolation, Japan, life styles, Lifestyle of Japanese seniors, living treasures, Mental health, Noriaki Tsujino, nursing homes, physical activity, Respect for the Aged Day, respect for the elderly, self determination, social distancing, socialization, traditions, wagasa craftsman | Leave a comment