Many parts of Australia are currently struggling under hot conditions while in Europe they are just emerging from extreme cold. In both cases older people are described as ‘being at risk’ and advised to take care. Nobody seems to explain what is meant by this. The trouble is that poorer older people are unable to arm themselves against extreme conditions, such as with central heating and air conditioning, and with weaker bodies that can’t adjust to change as easily, they are very vulnerable.
What is the answer? I suspect that the world is dividing at an ever-increasing rate into the rich and the poor and it is the former who are demanding change to meet their needs. We all want happiness in this world but unfortunately this seems to be seen as having ever more material goods. When our latest acquisitions don’t satisfy us we want more and more so that it becomes an addiction. This is unlikely to change until we realise that happiness can only come from feeling satisfied about ourselves and our contribution to the world around us. Unfortunately our politicians and other policy makers are in the acquisitions mode and combine it with the ‘feel good’ of having power, thus making so many of their decisions ineffective and, at times, dangerous if we are to achieve a prosperous and happy society.
What this means is that the richer are getting richer in terms of having more material goods and the poor getting poorer, often being at risk from the elements through inadequate shelter and food. When we add the vulnerability of ageing to this mix life becomes unbearable and dangerous.
None of the major religions seem to pay more than lip service to the situation in reality. The Christians claim to follow a God who preached against richness in terms of material goods but the attractions of the modern world usually prove too tempting. It is interesting that the current Pope is trying to follow the original teachings and is proving very popular amongst ordinary people. Apparently some members of the church hierarchy are not impressed by this new move. I can’t speak for the other religions; maybe some of those following this blog will fill us in (Your Story@over65.net).
Meanwhile back to the current daily problems. We have the old who have almost completed their lives being unable to protect themselves particularly in a world in which greed and self satisfaction of the ‘haves’ is making it more and more difficult to survive for the ‘have nots’, particularly the elderly. Shouldn’t we feel responsible? After all, the world we live on has to be shared. The ‘I’m all right Jack’ attitude can only work if this is the only world our souls will ever live in. Otherwise our individual contribution to climate change and our lack of caring for those less endowed with material wealth could count against us. What a gamble.