Elders among the kinfolk…

Contributing Editor Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor Walt Pickut

When you survey the kinfolk around your dining room table this year for Thanksgiving dinner, will they all be there? Maybe not, but they certainly will be there in your hearts and memories if they had to stay home.

So, let’s give them all a kindly thought right now:

For the young’uns, small fry, and the little angels, remember what Dr. Seuss reminded us, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” The kids deserve a valued place at the table.
For the teenyboppers and the sweet-sixteens, be glad for them even though Erma Bombeck says, “Never lend your car keys to anyone to whom you have given birth.”
For the grownups, just thank them because they probably paid for all the grub.
But especially for the elders, the seniors, grandmas, and grandpas, and even for the oldest old-fogies, remember this: “The elders are the history and the mirror of the living past. Study them to brighten your life and your future,” according to Ehsan Sehgal, an Urdu poet.
Thanksgiving might be a good time to remember that our elders are our treasures. They deserve gratitude simply because without them we would not be. They deserve thanks for what they did for us after we got here. And they deserve our most sincere attention – they have wisdom to pass on because of the things they have lived through that we haven’t even seen yet.

So, what do you do with kinfolk so important? Take care of them! And taking care of them means partnering with them. They already know a lot about taking care of themselves, otherwise they wouldn’t still be here.

This week your Jamestown Gazette is about our elders and our nation’s responsibility to share in their wellbeing. Medicare is much more than a “bill payer” and a safety net. It is our acknowledgement that America was built by people we all owe a debt to.

But it is more than that. Medicare is our promise to this generation still working – we are providing for our own future, too. After all, “what goes around comes around.” If we take care of the elders among our kinfolk, the next generation will learn how to take care of us when we deserve the honor of their help.

In other words, according to 19th century evangelist Dwight L. Moody, “Preparation for old age should begin not later than one’s teens. A life which is empty of purpose until 65 will not suddenly become filled on retirement.” Twenty-year veteran of the United States House of Representative, and New York native from Syracuse, James T. Walsh, described it like this: “Because of programs like Medicare, Medicare prescription drugs, and Social Security, we now have the healthiest and wealthiest group of senior citizens that the world has ever seen. Medicare is a continuing commitment to that.”

But maybe the most important lesson to learn from how we use programs like Medicare is that old age isn’t old age any more. It is a middle time when, with a little help, it’s a chance for a new start. Author Victor Hugo said, “Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.” Then he added, “When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.”

So today, Medicare is a plan that just might help buy those wise elder kinfolk among us that wakeup call to a new dawn.

Whether you or one of your own elders is ready to enroll or re-enroll in one of the best Medicare plans for next year, read all about it at www.medicare.gov.

And of course, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.