The culture, the people, and the place: Filipinos have always kept this dear to their hearts. Tradition, amongst many others, plays the most important role in their community; family tradition to be more specific.
Everyone in the household and even up to the second and third degree of affinity matters. There are the children, the adults and the elderly. The elderly are the ones that have been in the family long enough to gauge on certain situations and decisions that need their opinion. They become generations of family members that become very important in the future – whatever they do and accomplish will make a mark in the coming generations, that is why it is with utmost importance that they are highly regarded. Although most Filipinos try to live up to this expectation, some just cannot and this is why elderly abandonment in the Philippines is happening.
Over one and a half million elderly Filipinos have been abandoned due to a number of reasons. Reasons that are, in a way, due to existing problems in the society but mostly more on the lack of having the right conscience. Filipinos have no intention to sacrifice family but when times get rough the inevitable happens.
People come from all walks of life. Some can be very unfortunate when it comes to these situations. In other parts of the globe, they have care centers and homes for the aged. This is not the case in the Philippines. In fact, it is nonexistent. This gives the responsibility to the children of the elderly or the family to take care of them. This can be very difficult when they have health issues and the like. Their mentality to care for them until their final breath can be very challenging for some. Of course, children will not have to think of this but the adults do. But then they have families of their own and they need to provide for their needs too. This becomes a problem when they are not financially stable.
Another problem is when they are not physically present since they are abroad or working hard elsewhere in the Philippines or the world.
The Problem with Health Insurance
Having health insurance anywhere in the world is a necessity. In the Philippines, the opposite is happening. This is very important especially for the elderly. We all know that when you start to get older, health issues occur as well. We fail to acknowledge this fact and how insurance can really help sustain a longer life. Even after they leave this world, the people who are left to mourn for them can benefit from it. Many take the risk of paying for it, some are not convinced and most are not financially capable.
How the Government Can Help
The Philippines have tried to exert any type of effort to stop the numbers from growing. They issued a twenty-percent discount for medications, hospitalizations, groceries, eating in fast food chains and restaurants and basically anything that involves the elderly. They even have special areas for senior citizens in buses, trains or even exclusive lines to pay for goods at the store. This has really helped older people travel easier and they can really use the discounts that the government has given them.
How the Society Can Help
No matter where you are located, we can help the elderly by assisting them with their medications and to support them financially so that they will not have to try and feel the burden they think they are putting on their families. Extending a helping hand by supporting medical missions and giving special treatment to less fortunate senior citizens who cannot afford it. We can also help them cross the street, take them where they want to go and all those other simple yet meaningful gestures that we all want to experience when we grow old, too.
Elderly abandonment in the Philippines is one of the many reasons why more chaos happens in the household and how families become broken because there is just nothing more that they can do. The issue still exists and it is still currently a problem among families since it defies how their tradition works and how it’s supposed to continue. It is very hard for them, I am sure of that, but their tears cannot change the reality.
It is indeed heartbreaking to see photos and videos of the elderly being abandoned and being spread throughout various social media platforms but we can only do so much. We can always try to help out and do what we know is right and best for the elderly but we need to work together.
The Philippine government has exhausted all their efforts to help lessen this problem but bottom line is poverty is still the root cause of this. Something that is beyond them and something that needs a radical change at how Filipinos look at their culture, their people and their place in society.