When I think about the respected elderly, the following quote from our holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) comes to mind “He isn’t of us who isn’t kind to our youngsters, and shows no respect to our elders…” A powerful message which if applied will help us in taking steps towards building a harmonious society.
Respect for elders can be expressed in many different forms. It could include attentively listening to their advice, being kind and polite, ignoring their harshness and cherishing their presence, while attending to their physical and spiritual needs.
Research conducted by Age UK reveals that nearly 400,000 people aged 65 and over in the UK are worried about being alone this Christmas. Loneliness is a real problem for the elderly, especially those who are sick and in hospital.
Therefore, on the28th of December, myself and other volunteers including staff at Northwick Park and Moorfields Eye Hospital volunteered to visit the Care of the Elderly ward and Stroke Unit at Northwick Park Hospital. Having worked in hospitals for five years, I have seen how lonely Christmas can be for patients who are too frail to go home or have nobody to visit them. It’s a time of the year traditionally spent with family and loved ones, and if you’re in hospital it can be an incredibly tough time of the year. Inspired by a similar event at Mile End Hospital, we were encouraged to organise a similar event at our own local hospital.
Gifts generously donated by people were presented to patients across the two wards. Niloofar Shahrbaf, a local resident of Brent added to the cheer by baking some delicious home baked cupcakes for patients and staff.
The day was a huge success in bringing happiness to staff, patients and their relatives. Veronica a carer of one of the patients expressed her gratitude and said “It makes a huge difference for patients to see someone cares.” Volunteers covered the wards for two hours and their efforts were rewarded with all the smiles and gratitude expressed by the patients.
Elderly patients in hospitals are in great need of love and companionship and can be neglected especially during the Christmas period. Following this year’s success, the team of volunteers are looking forward to visiting the respected elderly every Christmas, not just at Northwick Park Hospital but we want to see this across other hospitals too.
Sometimes we try to travel far to reach out to those in need. However, it’s also important to remember we have people at our own door steps in desperate need of love and attention. Let’s make it our new year’s resolution to help those less fortunate than us in our local communities. It could be doing the shopping for our elderly neighbour, visiting the sick in our local hospital or acting as a translator for a new migrant. Whatever small yet significant step needed to bring us closer to building a loving community.
Written by Kosar Pedram