The 2 hours I spent with some 9 old women at the Kurara Art Center in Higashihiroshimashi on the 10th of August will forever linger as memory and it will be a cue I will always learn from, but most importantly practice to do with my friends in my old age.
The gaze on their faces wasn’t the typical one I found in old women in my Ghana home, whom sometimes looked isolated, (like those in witches camps in the Northern part of Ghana) lonely or sunken as if they were battling the illnesses of old age, these old women in Japan were full of life, togetherness and a common goal that said “help me live longer in joy and I will help you live longer in good health”.
They had erected their monopod and tripod stands, sharpened their pencils, sorted out their brushes and colours and were ready to draw me as their African model for that week. After 2 hours of drawing, I had been drawn in pencil art, silhouette and cartoon painting as how each saw me.
Well, the point I wish for us to focus on is not about how I appeared on their sheets after the drawing but the purpose of the gathering and how they spent one of their old age days.
These women after crossing the age 60 and becoming too aware of the “curses” associated with that stage of life as loneliness, isolation, depression and all the gerontological diseases awaiting them or even with them have found the best way to live and enjoy life to the fullest healthily, while also making their brains active so they don’t develop memory loss too quick.
In my home country Ghana, there are not many centres designed solely for the aged socialization purpose. Well even children’s playgrounds have been left at the mercy of the weather not to mention spending the already exhausted budget on persons waiting to cross over to the other world.
Maybe that could be the reason for this neglect at old age, but the truth remains that what you do not appreciate, you do not get or become so if we really as a country desire to live long and for the aged to contribute their wisdom of experience to productivity, then we should be reversing this trend and build more elderly care centres like the AYA Elderly Care Centre in Ellembelle, Western Region.
Notwithstanding, it is only my small mind and I am no where near the decision making powers for my advise to be upheld, however with the pain of my agile grandmother, who died 5 years ago from stroke and then my grandfather who also passed on barely 3 weeks ago also from this same cardiovascular disease, still fresh in my mind, I will still put this message across.
My elderly parents, if the society cannot provide recreational centres for you, I humbly beseech you to form associations and link ups like these old women have done here in Japan and do a hobby at least once a week. It is possible, such activities will reset your thinking into youthfulness, your skin into agility and your emotions into lovely honeymoon days.
Gerontology is a living phenomenon, the pains and diseases of the age is felt individually but if you deliberately share the joys of the age and hobbies from childhood, it can keep you alive many more years to enjoy the fruits of your labour, (particularly bathing and playing with babies; a chore which by default in Africa has been reserved for living grandparents).
(I AM THE GHANAIAN villager that came to Japan)
Officially called, Afiba Anyanzua Boavo Twum. Reach me via:
#dealing with old age
#the joy in doing a childhood hobby even in menopause
#togetherness rather than isolation
#the Ghanaian villager that came to Japan.