Hardly do people regularly interact with older/ aging people outside their families. This is an observable trend in most parts of the world. With the same notion/ mindset, many institutions do forget most of their older/ former workers. This therefore as led to the study of these senior citizens termed as less productive because of their old age (Reuters 2010). Many institutions treated these old persons like rejects simply because their time of use is long gone. Gerontology seeks to determine and find how these rejects are fairing regarding both their employer and their environment. As in as much as the effect of aging cant be entirely prevented, there are ways to age smart and maintain a good physical, psychological and environmental health (Kim 1984). In a nutshell, gerontology can be defined as the scientific study of aging and older adults from a biological, psychological and social point of view (Silverstone 1992).
To understand this topic of Social Gerontology and Physical Health, I sampled four different old workers who are working with World Health Organization (WHO). These people were from different continents and gender. Michael Maina Karanja- Africa, Shantel Hillary-North America, Mark Williamson Europe, Shigeko Suzuki Tai - Asia. These four people occupied a different position as employees of World Health Organization (WHO). Michael and Williamson were both male while Hillary and Suzuki were female. Based on their gender and races, each had a different narrative concerning how they relate to their employer and their younger colleagues in the organization. Another point of concern was also how each contributed to the organization either directly or indirectly.
According to Suzuki, she says that her relationship with her employer is something of the past. From the day she became old up-to-date, she has not been engaged in any serious business by WHO though willing to work? To her, gone are the days of her use on Earth and therefore, the only remaining thing for her is to wait for the day she will retire. She exclaims that she is least needed by WHO because she was just a mere secretary. This makes her wonder as to why such an organization could forget her so easily. It such thoughts running through her mind every other time that makes her health deteriorate. Michaels narrative is not much different from Suzukis. He says that, though his working environment initially as when he was a young, and energetic man was very nice and enjoyable, during his olden days that what was good turned out to be a lost glory. To him, what the organization was interested in was his service and not his person. He says that, were it not for the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa, his life with the World Health Organization could have been a tale. It was when the outbreak stroke this continent is when WHO remembered my existent, timeworn is gold, said the old Michael. Even after the organization came back to seek his advice concerning the outrageous disease, he claims that he was not allowed adequate time to come up with a clear and achievable long-term solution to the pandemic. According to him, considering his old age, the organization gave him a petite time to respond.
Mark Williamson had a little different story. According to him, the organization is a good friend who keeps in touch almost every other time if not always. Could it because he is a renowned researcher in the field of medicine? Or could it be because he has contributed much more to the organization? According to Williamson, his good work as an employee of WHO is the reason as to why he is still consulted up to his old age. He says he did a lot during his time both as a researcher and an administrator. He also says that his willingness to offer his services to the organization without any payment or reward is also another factor. Even the time he was giving his narrative, Williamson had some work awaiting his forwarding to the heads of the organization. He says that he is reluctant to send because the deadline was three weeks to come. It, therefore, means he was three weeks ahead of the given time. He attributed this to the following three reasons, first of all, was experience, his willingness to work and finally sufficient time given.
Hillary Shantel, on the other hand, had her own narrative. She works as a flying doctor with the World Health Organization. According to her, the organization partially recognizes her existence. This is because of the little or no engagements from the organization. She says, since her retirement, she has been consulted only twice by WHO. The first consultation was a phone call that according to her was an unexpected thing. I was caught unaware since it was a phone call; there was no time to prepare at all. Said Hillary. To her, though an expert in the field, that was not the best way she could have been consulted. There are better ways of doing things, a more professional way. Not just ambushing me with a phone call and expect me to deliver, said Hillary.
In conclusion from the four testimonies above, it can be clearly stated that many old workers are treated differently. Hillary, Michael, and Suzuki felt forgotten while Williamson feels he is very much instrumental. It is also true to say that, due their old age, many workers in a good number of the organization feel that they are not given time to deliver (Yates 1988).
Kim, J. (1984). "Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 65: 154-190.
Reuters, T. (2010). "Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences." Series, B.
Silverstone, B., Hyman (1992). Growing Older Together. New York, Pantheon Books
Yates, F. E., F. J. Birren (1988). The Dynamic of Aging and Time. New York, Springer.
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