Time to fo­cus on el­derly

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the lead up to the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, each of the can­di­dates con­test­ing the Mata­mata Ward will speak about what’s im­por­tant in the com­mu­nity, start­ing with Joanne Aoake.

My def­i­ni­tion of the el­derly is an over­looked re­source in knowl­edge, wis­dom, guid­ance, hu­mour and value.

There is not an age that par­tic­u­larly de­fines them.

I moved home to look af­ter my par­ents. I was for­tu­nate to have them well into their 80s. It was both a duty and a re­spon­si­bil­ity. How­ever the sto­ries that we shared, the teach­ings that I learnt, the mo­ments that will never come again meant that I was priv­i­leged and hon­oured to be the one that was home.

I got a first-hand look at what they of­fered to our fam­ily and to our com­mu­nity and how they par­tic­i­pated in that com­mu­nity.

I watched them mak­ing fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions on a lim­ited in­come. I watch them con­serve en­ergy when win­ter came, I lis­tened when they spoke about fam­ily mat­ters es­pe­cially grand­chil­dren, lo­cal news, the Gov­ern­ment and what they might be up to and how will that af­fect them. I saw them in­ter­act with peo­ple in the ser­vice in­dus­try and other ar­eas and didn’t know they knew half those peo­ple. I saw them con­sider what they could have this week in shop­ping and what had to wait. (Side note: I did help but to re­move all re­spon­si­bil­ity chal­lenged their in­de­pen­dence which they fu­ri­ously pro­tected.) When they were in town I watched how they tried to be care­ful in case of un­even the foot­paths.

I watched how they timed get­ting across the pedes­trian cross­ing be­cause some of those cars go too fast or they just don’t look. How the cor­rect light­ing af­fected where they parked. How far away they were from where they needed to be, if park­ing space was not avail­able. How frus­trated some peo­ple got if they didn’t speak up enough or were slow at get­ting out of peo­ple way, in the shops when pay­ing and so forth. I also watched the el­derly help each other they were all in the same club. By ob­serv­ing my par­ents later years I re­alised that our town needs to cel­e­brate all the el­derly for the con­tri­bu­tion they have all made to this town. To you all I say I have your back.

Nga mi­hinui ki a koutou mo to man­aki, whakaro, mo to kaha.

My par­ents are no longer with me but we owe the el­derly a huge thank you.

Joanne Aoake

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