We are all taught to respect the elderly and we all do it, but are we respecting their wishes?
A 70-year-old lady sits sheepishly near me in my consulting room. Opposite to us on the other side of the table sits her son. He scolds her for her high blood sugar and cholesterol. He says that his mother does not like an old, sick woman. She eats everything disregard her condition. Son also complains that she does hard house hold work and goes out to the fields to supervise the agriculture work. All these were unnecessary as there are others to do it. The lady has a guilty smile, but denies most of the accusations of her son.
This happens very often in my clinic. The younger generation wants the elderly to live a schedurled life.They will be happy if they just sit and watch TV all the day and eat as bland and tasteless diet as possible avoiding everything. They believe that elderly should behave themselves [as old and sick]. By leading such a life, the children feel that their parents can live long and happy. As they are [most often] footing the bills for their health care, children expects obedience from their parents.
After hearing from both sides, I usually take a middle path. I advice the children that even though their parents are old and have some health problems, don't make them feel they are sick by your reprimands [like don't do this, don't do that ]. I will tell that some restrictions in food and activities are needed, but do not put them in 'house arrest'. Try to understand what they like to do and allow it in such a way that there is no harm to their health.
I tell the elderly patient not to indulge too much in unhealthy food. I tell them to be active but protect themselves from extremes of weather.
Usually as they go out of my room, the elderly have a broader smile.