There has been much talk and much buzz about Cleveland hosting The National Senior Games this year. Some have talked about how it is great for Cleveland’s economy. Others have talked about how it is truly inspiring that the competitors ( Age 50+) are competing all the way into their 100’s. I heard about a 100-year-old tennis player on WKYC-TV Channel 3 who was competing against someone younger than he was. That competitor was 94-years-old. They have a pole vaulter in his 80’s and a ladies’ basketball team who are at least in their 70’s if not older.
While there are many things great about our society, we can improve in some ways especially in how we treat Senior Citizens I have seen some families who are extremely loving and respectful toward their older relatives. If the relative can and wants to stay in their own home, great, their children, nieces, nephews, etc make sure that is the way things are. If they want to go into a nursing home or assisted living, then the older person’s relatives help with that. If they want to travel, wonderful, let’s do that. If the older person wants to take up a hobby, a new job, etc; the younger relatives support them every step of the way.
Unfortunately, I have also heard about when the younger relatives are mean, condescending, and even to the point of committing elder abuse against their older relatives. The younger relatives treat them as though they are stupid and worthless. They steal money from them. They force them to live in a nursing home or an assisted living when many times, arrangements could be made at the Senior Citizen’s house for them to stay there. Even when the Senior Citizen needs to go into a nursing home or assisted living; the younger relatives make it even harder by continuing to treat them and sometimes the staff there terribly. Sadly, there are also some nursing homes and assisted living facilities that do not treat their residents with respect. While I love museums, I feel that sometimes, younger people misuse their purpose by trying to make their older relatives artifacts in a museum. They do not think about and do not want to think about what their older relatives truly need and want.
We as a society need to get better at the way we treat our Senior Citizens. We younger people need to go to the museum instead. I wish all the competitors at The Senior Games the best this year and always. I hope they learn and grow in their sports as well as win some medals too. In addition, I hope that we younger people learn a thing or two about how it is never too late to do anything.
The National Senior Games run through Thursday, August 1st. For more information on the schedule of events, please visit www.cleveland2013.com.
One final note….Abuse is never okay. If you know or suspect that elder abuse is happening to you or someone that you know, please contact your local law enforcement agency and social service agency.