Seniors: Staying Upbeat in a Downbeat World

Jan 11th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

You spent your life readying yourself for retirement.  While it did not occupy your every moment thinking about it, in the back of your mind you could hear the clock ticking.  You knew eventually you would need to be prepared for the day when you would hear that clock strike the golden hour.  And so it has. 

The irony is that all the planning and preparing and posturing for that day has come at a very challenging and for some, difficult time.  Others will slide through just fine.  Somehow they have been largely unscathed by the milieu that characterizes our current state of affairs.  Some lost their jobs, when retirement was just coming into sight. Others have walked away from their proverbial nest  egg, their homes, with no equity at all.  Some are bereft because jobless benefits have run out. 

So, how in God’s name, do you stay upbeat in such a downbeat world.  It is getting harder to be optimistic.  The numbers of homeless continue on the rise.  Children going to school without breakfast or being denied lunch or both. This ain’t a pretty picture. 

The American dream has deteriorated into a nightmare for many.  What’s to be done?  How is the “American way of life” to emerge from  this downbeat dilemma?  

Here are a few possibilities:

In your town, neighborhood, area find others who will join with you to resource the food bank so it never has to turn any one away.  This is barn building time.  It is a time for friends and neighbors to join in helping friends and neighbors in their plight.

Don’t allow any child to  go hungry for even one day.  Recruit others to prepare breakfasts and lunches for kids so they don’t go without. 

When you see someone being evicted from their home, strategize for some shared housing availability.  This comes with all kinds of logistical complications, but give it a try.

When a neighbor has lost his vehicle, but still has a job, help him or her get to work.

Organize your church, club, organization, group, whatever to offer assistance where and as help is needed.  You determine the need and work with others to deliver on the need. 

For those who need help getting assitance for health issues, respond by offering transportation and other help.

For persons living without ample heat or adequate clothing in this dreadful winter, find out who they are and go about collecting clothes, the easiest job in the most consuming nation in the world.  Share those items of clothing with as many families as you can identify have need. Find ways for them to be sure their utilities are operative.  

If you have gone through this list and find nothing practical you feel you can do, then donate money.  Find an organization or an individual or a family or something you can conscientiously give to to directly affect the lives of those who are in gruesome discomfort.  No “they should get a job” excuses.  No, “they are just welfare cheats.”  Just genuinely solid caring compassion.  SCJ posted an article about how some folk are doing this in Phoenix.  That is how to stay upbeat in a downbeat world.

A word of  Practical Caution:  SCJ joins with CNN in calling for caution in dealing directly and individually with homeless persons on the street.  If such intervention is desired, secure counsel and assistance from organizations and professionals who are well equipped and trained to deal with persons who have needs.  Offer to participate, but be aware of the special needs that you may not know how  best  to handle.



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