Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why do Senior Citizens Crave to be heard?

WHY Do Senior Citizens crave to be heard?


Three old men were taking a walk one fine day in July.
One remarked to the other, "Windy, isn't it?"
"No," the second man replied, "It's Thursday."
And the third man chimed in, "So am I. Let's have a coke."


Despite such severe hearing problems, senior citizens crave to be heard. They just want to talk to someone. I envy people who prefer to be alone and enjoy their own company. Such wise guys need no others to make them happy. This is an excellent trait to be cultivated seriously. It will be most useful to senior citizens. Older persons are most likely to be left alone with no one even to talk to. Many elders crave to be heard.  This is a pathetic situation. Can we do something about this condition?


We can tackle this issue once we know the reasons for the craving senior citizens have for having someone to listen to them.  As one ages, friends leave one by one. Siblings and other relatives also die sooner or later. Children and others at home have no time or interest in elders. They are busy in their own world. There is a severe mismatch in the interests of the young and old groups. Retired persons  have no captive listeners they used to enjoy when they were employed or otherwise in power.  They are afraid of their own company and have not learnt the art of being alone and enjoy it. A sense of emptiness and despair starts gnawing the soul. They have no one to turn to either for talking, sharing ideas and worries.  As old people often repeat the same old stories, listeners tend to escape being caught. Oldies can not much talk of future as that is bleak and sealed. Youngsters, on the other hand, are more interested in discussing current happenings and guessing and gossiping about people and immediate future.


This craving may either be catered to or simply shunned.  Nowadays many senior citizens organizations and counseling centers are offering free listening services to the elderly.  PSESU service of Society for Serving Seniors, Secunderabad is an example. PESU is an acronym for "Personalized Ear-lending Services Unlimited".  Volunteers from PESU listen to lonely senior citizens over telephone during pre-arranged timings.  Another organization, Support4grief, located in many cities, operates a Help line that provides free, anonymous, unconditional, non judgmental and a confidential listening ear to the needy. Here the beneficiary need not be senior citizens, though many seniors find it useful.


Joining clubs or associations or going to Day Care Centers may alleviate the problem; however, all may not be able use these services because of distance, time and costs involved.


Learning to come to terms with reality – that loneliness and having no companions is something to be faced bravely and it strikes many in old age – is the best way to handle it. What can not be cured has to endured, as the saying goes.  Many seniors do manage being alone boldly and beautifully. Why not you?


  1. Sir,

    I have same situation at my home also.My mom and dad want to talk with me for long hours , but i could not give the time they expect from my side.I know the same thing will happen to me also , if i survive by that age.But i am myself unable to find the right solution for this.Because , being young there are so many things to do.Job , daily life problems and many other things to learn.I am unable to find that much time.So in order to cope up with this problem , i asked my mom to get herself involved in those activities which she likes to do.So she goes to temple , ceragem(where people go for heat therapy) and my father keeps himself busy in watching old movies on T.V.I know this is not a good solution because they definitely want to be heard by us but this is also a fact that young people are always in the learning stage so they try to focus on their daily needs and future.But what i will advice to youngsters like me (the same which i am following now a days) to keep track of their daily schedule and minimize the wastage of time like watching movies or hanging out on weekdays.The same time can be given to your parents or grandparents.
    Keeping in mind that we will also become old , so always keep your hobbies and interests alive ..make them your best friends so that once you reach that stage ..you don't feel alone.

  2. Arvind,

    Your bright (right) attitude towards your parents and towards elders, in general, is praiseworthy. You realize that one day you will be in their situation. You have the right appraisal and a right anticipation, congrats.

    PESU needs to be well publicized and well participated.