Quote of the day

The wilderness of the mind is a dark realm riddled with raw sores and agony. It is a state of limbo, a state of doubt and complete uncertainty. It is frightening and the absolute worst place to be.

DMK

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How different societies regard the elderly

The older you get, the wiser you get. This is undoubtedly a continuum scale. My concern is, why do some societies treat the elderly so poorly? These humans carry a vast amount of information and knowledge. They have witnessed and experienced adversity throughout history, shaping the modern world. Some have information that we can only get through books. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to hear concrete facts and anecdotes from someone who has lived in that moment of history? What a wealth of knowledge the elderly have! They are deserving of every type of respect. The young will always be at their mercy in terms of acquiring their wisdom, knowledge, and information.

Different societies treat the elderly in different ways. For some, they are highly esteemed since they are seen as a source of wisdom. In other societies, the old or per se aging is viewed negatively and as a burden. Others consider them as storytellers with enormous knowledge to impart on the young.

The terminology of society typically reflects its respect for the elderly. In Hindi, honorific suffixes like -ji allow speakers to show further respect for notable figures, such as Mahatma Gandhi, who is frequently referred to as Gandhiji. According to Wikipedia, mzee is a phrase used by younger speakers of Kiswahili, a language spoken in various parts of Africa, to express a great level of respect for elders. The Hawaiian word kūpuna means “elders” with the additional sense of knowledge, experience, and skill. The suffix -san in Japanese, which is frequently used with elders, indicates the country’s strong respect for the elderly.

Many African societies are shaped by the ideal of the respected elder. The senior generation rules the extended family. The elderly wield power in the community because they are the closest in age to their forefathers. Older individuals have a high standing because they believe that family growth is beneficial and fortunate. People consider large families as a source of protection in times of difficulty, and they want to be remembered as ancestors by their offspring. Older people have always been seen as a positive light in Sub-Saharan Africa as reservoirs of knowledge and wisdom. After dinner, many African villages gather around a central fire to listen to the elder storytellers.

What a wealth of knowledge the elderly have…

The elderly are held in high regard in Eastern societies. A new “Elderly Rights Law” passed in China warns adult children not to “ignore or insult elderly people” and requires them to visit their elderly parents frequently, no matter how far away they live. The law also offers tools for enforcing it: Offspring who fail to make such visits to their parents risk penalties ranging from fines to jail time. As in Chinese culture, the common expectation in Korea is that once parents reach retirement age, roles reverse and it is the responsibility of an adult child to care for his or her parents.

A person’s 60th birthday is likewise a big deal in Japan. Kankrei, as the festival is known, is a rite of passage into old age. Respect is regarded as a religious obligation in Asian cultures. Respect is focused on the family and is formalized through language and gestures. The Asian idea of respect affects sentiments of duty within the family as well as how Asian patients make decisions.

When exploring western societies, we find that as people age, the younger generations tend to view them with greater contempt. In Western culture, old age is associated with forgetfulness and irrelevance. They are treated more like children who, due to superior technology, can not understand the modern world. Because the fast-changing world has left them behind, the younger generation regards them as unreliable. According to a National Center for Biotechnology Information research, this attitude may originate from westerners’ preference for personal ambitions over familial bonds.

The emphasis on qualities like autonomy and independence is typical of Western societies, which are often youth-oriented. According to anthropologist Jared Diamond, who has examined the treatment of the elderly throughout cultures, the elderly in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States live “lonely lives apart from their children and longtime companions.” The elderly in these cultures frequently move to retirement villages, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes as their health deteriorates.

Similar to China, France also implemented an Elderly Rights Law in 2004 (Article 207 of the Civil Code) requiring persons to maintain contact with their geriatric parents. Perhaps some hope is on the way for Western societies…?

The elderly are considered the “wisdom-keepers” in tribal cultures and are held in high respect. They are regarded as the guardians of their tribes’ language and traditions. Most of these tribes, such as the Choctaw among Native Americans, have a long tradition of oral storytelling. Their stories were meant to preserve the tribe’s heritage and teach the next generation. Stories about westward migration, the birth of the world from a mound, other histories, and lessons about life or morality.

In her book, Experiencing Old Age in Ancient Rome, Dr. Karen Cokayne of the University of Reading argues that the Romans utilized their elderly and trusted their wisdom and experience, quoting Cicero as saying, “For there is definitely nothing dearer to a man than wisdom, and though age takes away all else, it undoubtedly brings us that.” However, Cokayne emphasizes that elderly people had to earn that high level of esteem by leading a virtuous life. “Wisdom had to be earned – through hard effort, study, and, most importantly, virtuous life. At all times, the elderly were expected to act with moderation and decency. It was assumed that the young learned by example, thus the old had to set a good example for them. This was deeply ingrained in Roman culture.

References

Sugirtharjah S. (1994). The notion of respect in Asian traditions. British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)3(14), 739–741. https://doi.org/10.12968/bjon.1994.3.14.739

Honorific – Wikipedia. (2009, December 1). Honorific – Wikipedia; en.wikipedia.org. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorific

Diamond, J. (n.d.). Jared Diamond | Speaker | TED. Jared Diamond | Speaker | TED; http://www.ted.com. Retrieved August 13, 2022, from https://www.ted.com/speakers/jared_diamond

WAGSTAFF, K. (2015, January 8). In China, adults must visit their aging parents… or else | The Week. In China, Adults Must Visit Their Aging Parents… or Else; theweek.com. https://theweek.com/articles/462599/china-adults-must-visit-aging-parents-else

Storytelling and Cultural Traditions | National Geographic Society. (n.d.). Storytelling and Cultural Traditions | National Geographic Society; education.nationalgeographic.org. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/storytelling-and-cultural-traditions

-. (n.d.). Elders | NCAI. Elders | NCAI; http://www.ncai.org.

Africa: Age and Aging. (n.d.). Africa: Age and Aging; geography.name. https://geography.name/age-and-aging/

The greatest gift anyone can receive is the gift of friendship

There is a phrase that goes, “We don’t choose our family.” The good news is that we chose our friends and they chose us. And these friends eventually become our family. In some sense, family does not necessarily consist of those with whom we share a blood link or are biologically connected.

Friends bring happiness into our life and have a significant impact on our mental health. Everyone needs someone they can confide in freely and unreservedly, someone they can laugh with for no particular reason; everyone needs a friend.

Friendship is characterized by persistent affection, regard, closeness, and trust. It is voluntary for individuals to develop friendships with one another. It is characteristically egalitarian. In contrast to parent-child relationships, for example, each participant in a friendship possess the same degree of power or authority. It is marked by companionship and doing things together

It is well known that healthy human development and adjustment throughout life are greatly aided by friendships. Friendships exist at virtually all stages of life, although their manifestations vary significantly with age. Definitely, making friends is easier when we are younger. It becomes more difficult as we mature and come to understand who we are, and this time we are looking for people with comparable interests and lives. More like, tell me who your friend is and I’ll tell you who you are.

Everyone needs someone they can confide in freely and unreservedly, someone they can laugh with for no particular reason; everyone needs a friend.

There are three different kinds of friends. TD Jakes describes the 3Cs quite well, and it is essential that you understand the distinction between them.

Constituents; They are the ones who support your cause! Constituents are essential for the advancement of your goal. And if you share their values, they will gladly walk with you, collaborate with you, and solve problems with you. However, they will not last forever.

Comrades: They will battle beside you against a common foe. These are not for what you support; rather, they are against what you are against. They are crucial for defending you from invisible obstacles and watching your back. But do not be deceived by their presence; they will only remain with you until the triumph is achieved. These friends are like a framework. They are very near to you and enter your life for a specific reason; when that reason has been fulfilled, the scaffolding is removed. This is okay and don’t be worried. Whatever you were battling always remains intact, but they must depart because they must continue to fight other fights.

Confidants; These are the most precious humans. Every person must have at least one throughout their lifetime. These individuals are scarce and difficult to find. They are so extraordinarily exceptional that regardless of whether you exhibit weakness or strength, they treat you with an anticipation of excellence! You will have very few of them, which is acceptable. You are an exception if you have two or three of these in your lifetime. For this degree of reciprocation, time and energy are at a minimum, thus you only get a few of them.

Constituents support what you support; Comrades oppose what you oppose; and Confidants are those individuals in your life who are genuinely on your side. The only actual risk associated with Constituents and Comrades is their misclassification. When you regard either of them as “Confidants,” you may experience heartbreak when they abandon you for a better cause. This is one reason why many individuals do not allow intimate proximity. In the moment, it can be difficult to distinguish between a Constituent, a Comrade, and a Confidant because they appear so similar. Constituents and Comrades are expected to leave after their roles are fulfilled, and this is OK.

The love of confidants is unconditional. They celebrate you. Whether you are up or down, whether you are right or wrong. They are committed to the long haul. If you get yourself into a problem, they will join you in it. You can feel safe opening up and sharing anything with them. You can trust them so much that you can be yourself around them just as you would be on your own. You will never reach your full potential in life until you find your Confidant. Though they may not always agree with you, they will always have your back and strive to help you become the best possible version of yourself. Through the cooperation of Constituents and Comrades, numerous positive possibilities exist. However, the beauty of the Confidant is that this someone is for you!

Constituents support what you support; Comrades oppose what you oppose; and Confidants are those individuals in your life who are genuinely on your side.

Everyone needs a mental health day when they lose a friend. For some, probably the majority, these individuals are more qualified to be family members than their blood relations, if you know what I mean. My friends keep me sane, whilst my family drives me practically insane — is anyone else in the same boat? I don’t know where I would be without my friends, which is why I value each of you, whether you are comrades, constituents, or confidants. In addition, I owe my confidants everything and will be eternally thankful.

As you usually observe Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, you must also observe International Friends Day on July 30. Add this date to your calendar and make an effort to recognize these beautiful people who decided to be in your life regardless, not because of…

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

References

TD Jakes– the three C’s

Healthcare in underdeveloped nations

In certain impoverished nations, unless you pay at the reception, you cannot see a medical professional–even if you are bleeding, there is nothing they can do other than give you a cloth to wrap and stop the bleeding and that’s if someone is kind enough. This means that you must pay out of pocket for healthcare services each time you see the doctor. In these countries, unemployment is very high, sanitation is very poor, and people are highly susceptible to illness not once or twice, but constantly, with no access to healthcare.  As a result of having to pay for these services out of their own pockets, the lack of financial security increases families’ financial strain.

“Without health care, how can children reach their full potential? And without a healthy, productive population, how can societies realize their aspirations?” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Universal health coverage can help level the playing field for children today, in turn helping them break intergenerational cycles of poverty and poor health tomorrow.”

The most primary and infectious causes of death in developing nations are malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis. In fact, these diseases can be prevented in the same manner as in industrialized nations. Tuberculosis? implying that both adults and children lack access to immunization. Immunization, seriously? Everyone should be vaccinated against these deadly diseases, which have claimed countless lives before our great-grandparents were born. In the 1700s, tuberculosis was not only referred to as the white plague due to the sufferers’ pallor, but also as the “Captain of all these men of death.” Now that it is possible to contain the disease, why not do so in every region of the world and not only in wealthy nations? 

If an outbreak occurs, it can affect people in both underdeveloped and developed countries. For example, Ebola emerged in 1976 in the DRC and South Sudan. After a period of few to no occurrences, an outbreak resurfaced between March 2014 and June 2016. This was the largest Ebola outbreak ever reported, with over 28,000 cases. This occurred not just in West Africa, but also in East Africa, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. If these regions of Africa had proper healthcare, the disease may have been efficiently contained. National and international authorities collaborated to help terminate this outbreak by building prevention programs and messages, as well as implementing policies with care. Personnel from the CDC were dispatched to West Africa to aid in response activities, including surveillance, contact tracing, data management, laboratory testing, and health education. In addition, the CDC team assisted with logistics, staffing, communication, analytics, and management.

During the height of the response, the CDC trained 24,655 West African healthcare professionals in infection prevention and control methods. In addition, by the end of 2015, 24 laboratories in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were equipped to do Ebola virus testing. If all these strategies were done not only during pandemics, we would be able to avert a great number of outbreaks. These nations and others would be able to contain an outbreak before it spreads internationally. However, we wait until a pandemic threatens our minds before implementing laboratories and educating more healthcare staff in developing nations. Why not do this in the absence of a potentially deadly disease? Why not be prepared for anything that could affect us in both developed and poor countries?

We’re not ready for the next epidemic, Bill Gates remarked during the ebola outbreak. Obviously, Covid happened, and what appeared to be a simple sentence made so much sense. He went on to explain that we require a response system with the capacity to mobilize tens of thousands of healthcare staff. During his TED talk, he mentioned that in order to combat an epidemic, we need robust health systems in developing nations– where mothers can safely give birth there, and children can receive all of their vaccinations there. However, this is also where the outbreak will appear first.

“Past experiences taught us that designing a robust health financing mechanism that protects each individual vulnerable person from financial hardship, as well as developing health care facilities and a workforce including doctors to provide necessary health services wherever people live, are critically important in achieving ‘health for all,’” said Mr. Katsunobu Kato, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan. 

What are we waiting for to improve healthcare in developing nations? In other words, what affects individuals in developing nations is likely to impact developed nations. Why not collaborate to create not only a better national healthcare system but also a universal healthcare system? Universal health means that everyone has access to and is covered by a well-organized and well-funded health system that provides quality and comprehensive health care and protects individuals from financial ruin if they utilize these services.

Guaranteeing the right to health means eliminating all kinds of barriers to accessing services…

Dr. Carrissa F. Etienne– Director of the Pan American Health Organization

Some Key actions for Universal Health are:

  1. Expanding equitable access,- Initiating and gradually extending primary care models and comprehensive service delivery that are centered on people’s needs. Assuring the prudent utilization of medications and health technology.
  2. Increasing stewardship and governance by teaching and empowering people and communities about their health-related rights and duties and encouraging them to participate in the development of health-related policies.
  3. Increasing and enhancing finance through eliminating payments at the point of service entry, identifying sustainable means of increasing health financing, and financially protecting individuals. These are only a few examples; the list is far longer.

The enhancement of health care in developing nations will have a substantial effect on the mental health of an infinite number of individuals. Healthcare is a human right!

References

World Bank and WHO: Half the world lacks access to essential health services, 100 million still pushed into extreme poverty because of health expenses. (n.d.). World Bank; http://www.worldbank.org. Retrieved June 7, 2022, from https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/12/13/world-bank-who-half-world-lacks-access-to-essential-health-services-100-million-still-pushed-into-extreme-poverty-because-of-health-expenses

CDC. (2022, January 14). World TB Day History. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; http://www.cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/tb/worldtbday/history.htm

Fact sheet about malaria. (2022, April 6). Malaria; http://www.who.int. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malaria

2014-2016 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa | History | Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease) | CDC. (2019, March 8). 2014-2016 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa | History | Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease) | CDC; http://www.cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/history/2014-2016-outbreak/index.html#:~:text=The%20patient%20recovered.,hospitals%20in%20the%20United%20States.

Universal health coverage (UHC). (2021, April 1). Universal Health Coverage (UHC); http://www.who.int. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/universal-health-coverage-(uhc)

Gates, B. (n.d.). Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready | TED Talk. Bill Gates: The next Outbreak? We’re Not Ready | TED Talk; http://www.ted.com. Retrieved June 7, 2022, from https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_the_next_outbreak_we_re_not_ready

Quote of the day

We can alter the manner in which we reject others. Be honest and forthright about boundaries– do not apologize; you did nothing wrong; you are simply informing them that it is not working, which is perfectly fine. While this may sound harsh, it is preferable relatively to ghosting.

DMK

Quote of the day

Many people develop their own way of looking at the world, values, and beliefs when they are away from home for a period of time, such as while attending college. We create our own cultures that are distinct from that in which we grew up, and these cultures may or may not be in agreement with what our parents know or have taught us. And that’s okay, what we were taught still remains close to our hearts.

DMK