One time time daughter-in-law asked me how much I need per month to live comfortably.
Her eyes widened in amazement when I told her a figure. Then she asked, “Are you sure? Only that much?”
I immediately felt sorry for giving such a low amount but I can’t make it any higher, either, without lying.
At any rate, when people grow a little older, their needs become a little lower.
Or they take on another form.
Elderly people need different, and probably expensive, kinds of foods to maintain a proper diet, and they may spend more on medications to take care of age-related illnesses.
But they will be spending less on clothes, they will party less, drive less, give up on unnecessary things they lavish themselves in their younger days.
They become more discriminating on what to spend on, have fewer, but better, friends to hang out with, and would rather stay home than hang out needlesly.
When people age, their focus shifts from material things to things that satisfy their inner desires of companionship, of self-worth, approval and consideration.
Unfortunately, mainstream society often gives elderly people the lowdown. They are being short-changed, abused, neglected, or just taken for granted. A few are abandoned in nursing homes to fade into oblivion, like a pair of badly worn-out shoes shoved into the closet for having lost its usefulness.
Like a separated old woman whose story was told to me by a friend…
A separated woman, already in her 60s, labored all her life to send her three children to school, through college. Then they graduated, and found work.
At first, they lived with their Mom, supporting her. Then they left home, but still sent her money for her needs. As time went by, the support dwindled until it came to a full stop, forcing the old woman to accept laundry to survive.
Stories like this may be rare but they happen. My kids, however, are felicitous with my needs, thanks goodness.
Oh yes, society and government have provided courtesy lanes, parking slots, discounts for food, groceries, and medicines to make the life of an elderly easier. Cash gifts are given during the year, and some movie houses offer free movies to seniors on certain days of the week.
These are good and we welcome them. After all we worked for them, didn’t we? But I call them fringe benefits for being old. They are not what old people need.