“I believe, in order to assist the elderly people to maintain the highest quality of life, we must enhance their self-esteem by letting them feel that they are still needed and loved”.
This is a story of a man who always captures my attention and my heart as well. “Manong” (a common Filipino term for a male elderly stranger) seems to be an ordinary beggar that you could commonly see in public places.
As Filipino’s, we highly value the presence of our family and taking care of our elderly. It made me wonder how could the family of Manong allowed him to be on the street despite of his retiring age, looking miserable, and alone.
However, taking some extra time to know the reasons behind his dirty face and a rusty can gave me inner perspectives.
Manong is not just an ordinary beggar who is asking for sympathy from other people. He is patiently sitting on the staircase of a well-known shopping mall in Marilao, Bulacan(SM City) every day for a couple of coins not because he “needs” to but he “wants” to. He is a retired laborer who supported all the financial needs of his family with five children. Through his hard work, he was able to send his children to vocational institutes and now earned a living and returned the favor of providing the needs of their family.
The question now, why is he on the streets? He did not reply and just smiled. The 10-minutes conversation of my sister-in-law with Manong made me realized that it’s not all about the money. Remember the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? It is expected that in every period of the individual’s life there is certain stage to achieve. Manong serves as pillar of his home during his younger years and now that he is at the dawn of his life he still want to prove his worth.
Aging can create delicate issues to those people who are used to providing for their family like what Manong is experiencing. Self-esteem of elderly people is sometimes overlooked by younger generations which could impede the psychosocial and physical well-being of the elderly.
I believe, in order to assist the elderly people to maintain the highest quality of life, we must enhance their self-esteem by letting them feel that they are still needed and loved. Thus, I would like to quote Tia Walker as she states,
“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.”