This is a great piece by Miriam Donohue in the Irish Independent.  She points out that in Ireland we should follow the example set by the Chinese and treasure our elderly. At Be Independent Home Care most of our clients are 80 years of age and over and with all of that life experience they make brilliant teachers in life. We are lucky enough on a daily basis to spend time with people who have experienced life, have made the mistakes and often have worked out the solutions from which we can then learn.  In our experience this is a generation with high values and morals, values that are all too often becoming endangered so by spending time and listening to this generation we have much to learn. So yes, we agree that in countries like China and Nepal the older generation are revered and respected and we need to reflect this in Ireland.   

The full article by Miriam is here and she rightly points out that regulation of Professional Care in the Home should be an absolute priority for this government.

Miriam Donohue: We should follow the example set by the Chinese and treasure our Elderly.

It was the perfect summer Sunday morning in Dublin. The magnificent walled garden in Marlay Park in Rathfarnham was a blaze of colour, with families happily strolling around, soaking up the rare sunshine.

Sitting on a bench chatting with my friend I spotted a sprightly and familiar figure admiring the flowers from the corner of my eye. Was it? Yes it was. Liam Cosgrave, former Taoiseach and son of WT Cosgrave, the first President of the Executive Council, or effectively Taoiseach, of the Irish Free State.

I did a quick mental calculation and estimated that Mr Cosgrave must now be in his early to mid-90s. Here was a man who made a massive contribution to Irish life. Here was living history, looking more than hale and hearty. And very dapper too, I might add.

On impulse I waved and shouted: “Good morning Mr Cosgrave.” He came bounding over – neither having much need for his stick nor any clue who I was – and engaged in conversation about how glorious Marlay Park was on a fine June day.

There followed a delightful 15 minutes in which he regaled me and my friend on the history of Marlay Park and House. We spoke about his passion for horses (his wife is an Osbourne), and he was delighted to learn of my connection with Jack Donohoe, my great uncle who owned a famous racehorse in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Height O’Fashion. He knew of my family’s horse sales business in Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny, and we talked about the famous horse-training family the Mullins, also of our parish.

His mind was sharp as a razor. He was interested, alert, and full of curiosity. He said he still makes it to the odd race meeting and particularly loves the Punchestown racing festival. He was a man who was still living his life.

My chance meeting got me thinking of our older population and whether we value them as we should. I lived in China for two years where older people are revered. Respect for elders has been at the foundation of Chinese culture for thousands of years. Older people were valued for their wisdom, and important family decisions were not made without consulting them.

Old people are arguably among the happiest people in China. We often saw them singing and dancing in the parks, hanging out and joking around on the streets.