We have serialised two articles on our Soul category on Page 6, since last week. We bring you the last part this week. Maureen Majamanda, a qualified nurse and lecturer at Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) sheds light on some of the behaviours that old people exhibit in the various phases of aging. It is indeed enlightening to note that some of the manifests are just a part of the process rather than what most of us conclude to be.
For instance, Majamanda claims most elderly people suffer from dementia–memory loss. “They can forget even close people around them or recent activities in their life. They are unable to perform other daily activities and do not speak clearly as their language is affected.”
Because of these disjointed speeches and memory loss, I assume that many of us in the communities conclude that our elderly members are playing mind or spiritual games we conclude to be witchcraft. Why, I am now thinking that some may experience sleep walking and the moment we see them wandering the corridors or yard in the dead of the night, we rush to slap them with the witchcraft charge and pass death sentence.
From my understanding of the article, the older we get, the less coordinated we become, coupled with opportunistic diseases that arise from wearing and tearing of the body and the dynamics of the entire anatomy. They range from mental to physical attacks and it is really sad that instead of being supported by people they love and should love them back, society becomes the first to cast stones at these noble citizens, who are meant to be foundations of family trees.
Majamanda is asking all of us to take time to understand and appreciate this critical phase the elderly are passing through. It is, evidently no fault of theirs, but the body giving in to years of hard work and hardships. They need love, care and continued association with people rather than being ridiculed and isolated. They do not deserve any form of torture or decrees.
Consider their plight as they are being led to the ‘altar’ of death by a mob which has not taken time to learn or understand the process of ageing. In their very aching bones and frail bodies, they are shoved, slapped, clobbered and bullied for ‘finishing’ communities simply because their wrinkles are mistaken for a shriveled man eater terrorising villages. In their weakness, they fail to fight back or run. They may probably suffer several broken bones hours leading to their deaths, making their last hours on earth even more gruelling.
Sometimes, all it takes is adequate comprehension of situations before we rush to judge. Over 90 percent of the time, we pass judgments on little or no information at all. We sit, think, assume and act, all the while seated under a tree. Facts play very little in complementing most of what we hear or contribute to.
In every situation, let us exercise caution before jumping to conclusions, particularly in matters of life and death. If hardcore criminals are still accorded a right to be heard and a fair trial, what more with those elderly citizens who may not even be guilty as charged?