July 24, 2024

“When I’m Sixty-Four” is a song popularized by the pop group Beatles in the 1970s.
It is a song that portrays the probable effect of old age in a relationship and the accompanying doubt of being accepted and loved. The words of the song ask: “Will you still feed me; will you still need me when I’m sixty-four?”
I guess everyone asks this question every now and then. In a way, the song is quite prophetic. In a world that had become highly career oriented and obsessed with competition, getting older is a life-changing experience that most people are afraid to delve into.
Aging is one of the most dreaded events in a person’s life that when the body starts showing signs of slowing down, the mind is plunged into a serious state of denial. The elixir for eternal youth is yet to be discovered and getting old and weak is a fact of life.
To think that the song composed by the Beatles only talks about reaching the age of 64, how much more for people who are older than that?
By our current standard, 64 remains a young age. All things being equal, the average life span of a human being is 70 for males and 75 for females.
Still, the effect is the same. The eyesight blurs, the hearing numbs, and the knees and elbows get afflicted with arthritis. The deterioration becomes unbearable. You don’t get to travel much and when there is a pandemic like now, you are the first to be quarantined inside your home or some standard facility no matter how healthy and youthful you claim to be because accordingly, you belong to the vulnerable sector.
Oh, how we yearn that these things during old age do not happen to us.
Inevitably, it shall. And, we are only talking about becoming a senior citizen. What about those who have outlived the average age? What about those who have reached the age of a hundred or more?
Well, the government gives an incentive to those who live to be 100 or more, as if they are some rare species worthy of recognition. No, they don’t get displayed in museums.
Instead, Republic Act 10868 or the Centenarian Act of 2016 grants a gift of P100,000 to all Filipinos who reach the age of 100 years old. For sure, this is one reward that I personally do not seek to aspire for. To be compensated is more of an insult than a recognition. To me, RA 10868 is a law that defeats its very purpose.
The preamble of the Centenarian Act professes that the law was enacted to “honor the country’s centenarians for their past contributions to nation-building.”
Aw c’mon, that is a dreaded statement. If the government desires to honor its citizens, the reward should be given while the awardee is still conscious of the importance of what he/she is receiving and not when he/she is at the twilight of his/her life wishing that he/she could meet his/her Maker sooner than later.
Rarely is a 100 years old person in full possession of his/her mental faculty. More often than not, centenarians are either senile or are already afflicted with a debilitating disease that have them confined in bed or on a wheel chair. So, what good will it do to a person who no longer understands the concept of money to be given P100,000?
Besides, a bed-ridden or wheel chair confined centenarian is in no position to leave the place of his/her confinement to enjoy the perks of the P100,000. It is not like a younger male or female who can have the freedom to roam around and spend his/her money as he/she desires.
The very basic needs of an elderly are medicine, food that is easy to digest, a little love and a lot of acceptance, not the soulless and lifeless commodity that is called money. At this point in life, money loses its significance.
The government should take heed from the song of the Beatles by answering the question, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I am one hundred years old?”
Giving P100,000 is a lame reply to an otherwise complex aging.