International Day for Older Persons :Motionless I lie

Did you know that 1st October is designated International Day for Older Persons?

As per the UN Development report published in 2017,

The global population aged 60 years or over numbered 962 million in 2017, more than twice as large as in 1980 when there were 382 million older persons worldwide. The number of older persons is expected to double again by 2050, when it is projected to reach nearly 2.1 billion.

Image for older persons

As motionless I lie

I see from the corner of my eye

You, my child scurrying around to get things done.

You stay awake all night, listening to my laboured breathing.

I feel your heart race with twice the speed of mine

Especially when you feel my pace has faltered.

Fear, not my child it’s not yet time

For me to leave you and join my folks long gone

who wait for me to join them;

shuffling patiently to make room for me.

As I lie motionless, I see the fear in your eyes

when you think I’m rambling on about an aunt long gone

or of people shouting or laughing loudly when none exist

But I haven’t lost my mind

Not yet.

It’s just a bit jumbled up.

And memories come tumbling out unbidden

From my head.

For no reason.

As I lie motionless you feed me spoon by spoon

The way I fed you when you were small.

With trepidation, your eyes question: have I failed you?

No my child you have not.

How can I explain that you don’t love me any less when you keep me in professional care.

In the hands of strangers who somehow seem to know me better than I know myself.

Who deftly turn me from side to side, mindful of my aching bones

And make my bed with me inside!

They change my clothes and wash me clean while you feel it should have been you.

But no! Throw out all guilt and feelings of inadequacy

for in this time that’s difficult for

you and me

It is best that strangers attend to me as

I lie motionless and helpless.


Many of my friends have reached the age where they have to look after ailing parents. With most of us already past our prime, it is often difficult for us to physically tend to sick parents. 

We are often racked with guilt when we seek the help of professionals to assist in nursing.

But does asking a trained caregiver for assistance amount to neglect or disrespect or even unconcern?

Do share your views on this in the comments below.


Image for Unishta



Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!


  1. I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking for professional care for parents. In some cases, like if a parent is bed ridden, trained professionals can look after them much better, I think. I don’t think it is callous, whereas abandoning them would be. It’s difficult though, to have to see our parents suffer like that…
    Modern Gypsy recently posted…Tarot reading for April 2018My Profile

  2. Not necessarily, Sunita. I think caregivers are professionally trained to give their best so if the family members find it physically exhausting (given that we are all looking at long term care for the elderly), I think professional help and care is the best way out. I see that happening a lot now as compared to a few decades back and one of the reasons for this could be that a lot more service providers are available now than in the past.
    Esha recently posted…Atrophy | #WordlessWednesdayMy Profile

  3. Beautiful poem! I have tears in my eyes as I give you my applause!

    Even for those who are physically able to care for aging parents, it’s an exhausting task! For those who can’t physically look after aging parents or family members: if you need help, reach out and ask for it!

    Aging in place can sometimes be better accomplished at home with the help of nurses or aides coming in to help. Other situations call for placing an person in a special facility. Each situation is unique, as the caregiver’s abilities to manage running a home, going to work at a job for income, raising children, the caregiver’s own health issues, etc. are all factors which need to be considered.

    Regardless of the solution, if efforts are made to have as frequent as possible visits, (to help the aging person feel loved and not forgotten) will help tremendously!

    We all sense when situations are difficult, though many people’s expectations aren’t in harmony with the caregiver’s reality! If a caregiver isn’t physically or mentally up for the long-term task, or needs to shift gears from being an at-home caregiver to having a family member “placed”, other people’s expectations can be the hardest to deal with.

    We can still love each other, from close by or from afar!

    Spending quality time is very important! Reading a person’s favorite books to them… bringing offerings of their favorite treats to tempt flagging appetites… children’s drawings (even scribbles) warm a heart… an electric fan… a warm yet light blanket or two… comfy slide-in slippers and robe… recording messages from family members and leaving an easy-to-play device to listen to them… arranging for fun outings from time to time… there’s so many ways to show love!

    Keeping a sense of family alive even when a person needs professional care is of course more difficult to do, but taking care of a person’s spirit becomes vitally important!

    Bravo to all the wonderful caregivers and Bravo to people who recognize when a situation is over their heads and who ask for help!

    Peace to all, Tamara

  4. I am in this very situation, in fact, as my 90 year old mother in law has lost the ability to take care of herself, and continues on her path of memory loss. When I tried to help her with certain personal care tasks in recent months I know I inadvertently hurt her doing this because I was inept and untrained. It is love to be there and to be advocating for the elderly family member.
    Alana recently posted…April Snow Oh No Please GoMy Profile

  5. We are care givers to 3 seniors.and have professional helpers.. i dont think its neglect or unconcern at all…in fact our emotional bonds can make it difficult to take proper care of elders especially if bed ridden. Having outside ‘help’ is a very difficult decision as it also means some loss of privacy for other people living in that home. There is a financial elenent as well. There can be no one solition and each family has to work out something that suits them…
    Archana recently posted…Glorious Ficus (ThursdayTreeLove)My Profile

    1. Yes we have to work out our own equations. Currently I have fractured my right hand and am in a quandary about asking for help from my family members who have little time for themselves or get outside help that I personally am averse to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge