HAVE YOU SECURED YOUR FUTURE? Message to all parents.

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We live in a world where individualism thrives. Children are becoming more and more selfish. The norm appears to have changed, in the past, well, at least, in the 80s when I was growing up, things appear to be a bit different from today, we were brought up to think about the other person, respect our elders and look out for each other. Take for instance, I grew up in a content home, we were not wealthy, but we had most of our needs provided by my parents. I remember my mother cooking a pot of yam porridge which was enough to last us for three days. I wondered how we could eat these but then, the evening comes, and my mother dished it all out to the young ‘Alamajiri’ as they called them (Alamajiri are young muslim scholars in Northern Nigeria). I noticed that every evening, there was a long queue of alamajiri in our house, my mother would give them our food and sometimes, when we didn’t have enough for them, she would give them money. I could not understand this gesture. I was a five-year-old child so one day, I asked my mother why she gave all our food to the alamajiri, and she replied,

‘They are people children and they have not eaten. I can’t watch them starve.’

‘Don’t they have parents to feed them? I inquired

‘They do.’ She replied.

‘So why are their parents not feeding them?’ I asked worried.

‘They have parents, but they are not with their parents and they are hungry. We have more than enough, and we can afford to share with them, now go out and play with other children.’

My mother could not explain to me why they were not with their parents and I often wondered why they were not with their parents until I was seventeen years old. However, one thing stayed with me until now; the value of open door and helping those in needs. My mother taught me from childhood, respecting others feeling, helping the poor and caring for others.

Nevertheless, I feel the societal values differs, people are more selfish and disrespectful to each other. It reminds me of the Biblical scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:2-4 which says,

‘People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy. Without Love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God’

I was speaking to a few parents recently, it broke my heart listening to their story. Most of them feel abandoned, disrespected and humiliated by their children. Each parent has different version of story but similar endings; they do not feel like their children will support them in old age. One of them told me his children would only contact him in the time of need but would barely spend a night with him. Another told me that her children humiliate her and find it tedious to help around the house or with internet stuff. This is only a tip of the iceberg. A closer look at some social video on Facebook and YouTube will inform you that this is not an individual problem or happening in a culture or country. I have seen videos from different continents, each conveying similar message; children belittling and abandoning their parents. It got me thinking, what is happening?

If you are a parent and wondering whether your children will support you in old age, you need to secure your future.

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Here are a few tips on how to secure your future for when you are retired.

1. Endeavour to do your part, ‘bring up your child in the way of the Lord’. By this I mean, bring them up in love and teach them the value of humanity. It will come back to you and other people.

2. Begin to save for the future. Open a different savings account, specifically for yourself when you are older. This savings will support your needs in future even if you have pension. Remember, Financial security is key!

3. Ensure you have a house of your own and if possible, plan on how to make it accessible. For example, plan on how to install staircase lift chairs and support walking handles on the wall for when you grow older and need assistance with your daily living. As an elderly support worker, one of the major issues which I know confront the elderly is inaccessibility in their own home, most elderly people are at high risk of falls because there is no support walking frame or lifts in their own home.

4. Ensure that you have health insurance coverage with a reputable health group. It is well-known that old age brings so many health challenges. You need to be prepared for any eventualities.

5. Endeavour to prepare for the power of attorney while you are still ‘corpus mentus’. Make your will and prepare for your medical directives. One of the challenges the elderly people I encountered in work place face is the lack of medical directives or attorney.

6. Prepare your mind for where you will be spending your last days. There are many options, nursing homes, residential homes and hospice. Ensure that you have plans in place before that day comes.

Photo credits: Google image

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