Treat your Elders with the respect they deserve

by Karen Nanouk

Hello out there,

I originally started writing this in April. I happened to be in Nome for medical reasons. When I go there I will try to go check on some Elders I know.

What I came upon saddened me so much that, while I was walking to the store to see what I could get with what little I had, I had to cry my heart out along the way and pray to God.

Here is an Elder in her 70’s taking care of her grandchild, stressing because she doesn’t know what to feed the child.

A lot of Elders get put in this position.

Maybe they start off doing it to help out their children while the parent is out looking for work. But it keeps on going on after the parent finds a job, could be because of the lack of daycare places, or unreliable babysitters.

So since that is their parent, who might get benefits from working all their lives, the parent probably doesn’t pay their parents to babysit. Much less, bring over snacks/food for the child.

Your parents are not rich, they could use the extra money too. Especially with the cost of living rising steadily.

There are other parents who get enough money to pay theirs and maybe their kids way to a wet community. They will go there, stay with an Elder – without asking first. Drop their things/kids off at the Elder’s house and head for the bar/liquor place.

Some may or may not go buy a little bit of food, if the place where they are staying is lucky enough.

Then, they might leave their children there for days, or totally disrespect the Elder by partying at their place even if the Elder doesn’t drink, or want them to do that. Do they even care? It seems not.

Our Elders have worked very hard for what they receive for their benefits. They do not get much in food stamps, if anything. Yet, people take advantage of their Elders, or even steal from them, which happens way more than you think.

So the Elder starts struggling toward the middle or the end of the month. Why? Because someone’s stolen from them or eaten up what little the Elder could afford.

Maybe, just because the Elder parents can no longer get up and do things like cook, a child might start abusing the Elder. The Elder might be scared to tell, or they feel like even if they told nothing will happen justicewise.

This could be why people don’t believe the justice system.

These are people who brought you into this world, nurtured you, only wanted what’s best for you, and this is the thanks they get.

Please, treat your Elders with the respect they deserve. Help them out. It doesn’t take much. Love them the way they loved you. Be kind and show your appreciation.

As always, Karen Nanouk

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