Why is society so important

: Old people: why they are important to our society

If the child doesn't know what to do with themselves, they run to the games cupboard, clear out a whole pile and go up one floor with it. My mother lives there. One to three hours later, the child comes down again and reports, the narrow chest fluffed up to the size of a gorilla, how he "ripped off" grandma.

Sometimes the child can also see from the balcony that his grandmother is visiting and that they are playing. Then it runs upstairs to get involved. My mother is sociable, many of her friends are as old as she is, some older. When their world mixes with ours at dinner, the age between the youngest and the oldest person at the table is between 60 and 70 years. It used to only be the case at family celebrations.

Alzheimer's dance café: bodies remember music

For a few years, the range was even greater on such occasions because the older child still got to know his great-grandparents. Not very original, but beautiful is a photo in which the tiny, smooth hand of the baby lies in my grandma's strong hand, which is adorned with a thousand wrinkles and almost as many rings.

My grandfather turned 90 and his eldest daughter, my mother, held his hand until her last breath. He had dementia for the last few years of his long life. Today my mother sometimes sits at the beds of people over centenarians and accompanies their death. When she talks about her voluntary work, I think of my grandpa. And a report I wrote a few years ago. She took me to an "Alzheimer's dance café". I met people there whose bodies remembered the music. As soon as it ended, they had to be propped up again. I remember how happy I was to see how many hands were there too. Each of us needs one at some point, but especially at the beginning and end of life.

Old people are part of life

That was what Julia Haak wrote about two weeks ago in this newspaper. Not a day goes by without my thinking about him. Namely whenever I see old people. The colleague wrote about the "Hoffmannsgarten", a day care facility for people with dementia. The founder had great problems finding rooms. Many landlords wanted nothing to do with the elderly and the sick. With them Hoffmann would bring death. The quality of living suffers. One should go to the surrounding area, where one would not see the "customers". I couldn't believe what I was reading. I got cold.

I imagine a world in which the image of a smooth hand in a wrinkled hand can only be found on motto cards. Where children have to go to the edge of town to see old people. And also all those who have accompanied you through the last few years, whether behind a wheelchair or by the hand. Whether on the dance floor or on the edge of the bed. I don't want a world like that. Nobody can want it. Or just those who have forgotten everything important: what life is. What it has to do with dying. And what role closeness plays in both.