When you think of older people, who come to mind? What’s your opinion of seniors who push others out of public transportation seats in order to take a seat, eat in messy way, take up more spaces that required, etc.? Do you see them as overly selfish, dirty, or lazy? Although you might not understand their behaviour and facial expressions, you can overlook them as they are “old.” Imagine one day you woke up from a deep sleep and had been transformed into an elderly senior. You are no longer able to see clearly, walk up easily, start hearing voices, and find it hard to even bathe yourself.
Life as a Senior
Sieun, SMT reporter experienced life as a senior by joining a program detailing with aging, which simulates aging, at the Aging Simulation Center to learn to appreciate seniors’ actions and mindsets. The Aging Simulation Center allows the young generations to grasp the lives of seniors and see what life will be like one day. The center is located near Sookmyung Women’s University and Sookmyungians can reach there by taking Yongsan 4 bus, so many Sookmyung's students can easily join the centre’s programmes. To experience aging, first students need to complete an application form online on its internet site. By participating in the aging simulation, students can experience life as a senior from a variety of perspectives. Concretely, students can experience very normal things like putting on and taking off one’s shoes, taking a seat on a chair or sofa, washing the dish, bathing, checking food in the refrigerator, and so on. To genuinely feel life as a senior, students are required to wear a sandbag on their wrist and ankles in order to sense the reduced muscular strength, heavy guard for elbow, knee and back and wear goggles that blur and narrow one’s vision. Also, students who participate in this program can also learn about wheelchair safely and watch many items called silver goods. That ease the lives of seniors.
When the reporter arrived at the center, she was surprised to see students there from high schools. Together everyone embarked on their life as an elderly person. To feel the full blunt of being older, the reporter put on equipment that hindered her arm usage. She couldn’t help but receive help from another student in the group and she, too, helped others. The equipment made her realise how hard the elderly must work to even wear clothing. The aging simulation also made the reporter uncomfortable when it came to moving other body parts due to weakened muscular strength and stiff bones. Shockingly, it was even hard for the reporter to open doors and lift water bottles. The goggles simulated seniors’ eye problems like having cataracts and glaucoma, so she felt it hard to do even the simplest of tasks due to her poor eyesight. She didn’t even realise that someone was standing beside her when they passed by, so she often bumped into people and objects. Interestingly, during the orientation period explanations, the reporter deeply wanted to take a seat because she felt tired standing, even for a short time. When the reporter experienced getting out of bed, she needed her entire body strength to raise herself from the bed.
After experiencing life as a senior, the reporter had the opportunity to learn how to use a wheelchair properly. She was given the chance to also try to use a wheelchair as a senior. She felt scared because the wheelchair she was riding shook, though it was probably a minor movement. Therefore, the reporter realized it can provoke fear to the older and even can make them danger that the younger feel nothing so, when we help the older, we have to take care them in detail. There were many different types of silverware, which were aimed at easing the lives of the elderly, but they don’t know how many goods to make their life convenient are. If seniors were told where they could purchase such good, they would have better lives. The reporter saw items that aimed at removing pain like door handles that make it easier for seniors to grasp when opening doors. The reporter felt most of the pain seniors live, not knowing many items for elder.
Senior Benefits for All
After finishing the program, the reporter recieved a diploma. When watching the diploma, the reporter could remember what she feel during the program. After reading the above recount, many of you might start to open up your hearts to the seniors’ hardships. However, for others, that might not happen. For these people, you need to experience senior life yourself in order to empathize with their action and thoughts. To really understand the older generation, students should take advantage of the center’s program. Some students might wonder why it is necessary to understand and care for the elderly, but their story is our story. Everyone ages. Therefore, the younger generations must know the burdens of being a senior. For the older, we can do many things like searching silver goods and have attention neighbor older. As university students, we can promote this aging simulation program to the general public and many sliver goods to seniors. The Sookmyung Times hopes students pay attention to our older generation who are our future.