Ever since I was a little girl I enjoyed being in the company of seniors. I have so many pleasant memories of the time I spent with my Bubby Nevitt, my mother's mother, both of blessed memory.

Bubby lived a couple of blocks from us in Montreal and I would go to her apartment after school and visit. She would always greet me with a big glass of milk and cookies. Although she had lived in Montreal for over forty five years, she could barely speak English, so we conversed in her broken English and my broken Yiddish.

I went to Bubby's apartment to visit her, but Bubby wasn't thereWe had wonderful conversations, laughed at each others' language skills, with Bubby correcting me and me correcting Bubby.

Bubby loved to play cards and her favorite game was "war." We would always play a game or two whenever I visited. I think she somehow cheated so that I would always win.

Sunday was family day and my mother and her siblings and all the cousins would visit Bubby. I didn't like having to share her with my cousins.

I remember so vividly, one day after school, I went to Bubby's apartment to visit her, but Bubby wasn't there. Instead, my mother and aunts were busy packing up Bubby's belongings.

I asked where Bubby was, and my mother told me that Bubby was very old and having a hard time looking after herself, so the family decided that she needed to go and live in a nursing home. My Mother told me that I could still visit her on Sunday. I will never forget the sadness that I felt.

One Sunday morning, my mother said that I couldn't visit Bubby that day because she had pneumonia and was very sick. I begged and begged to be allowed to visit, but the answer was still no.

Three days later, the day before Passover Eve, my Bubby passed away. I was thirteen years old and my mother allowed me to go to the funeral so that I could say good-bye. Forty years later, on the day before Passover Eve my mother passed away. My Mother and Bubby have the same yahrtzeit date.

Seventeen years ago, I worked in a Jewish senior's residence and nursing home, and I enjoyed visiting and talking with the residents. My mother-in-law, of blessed memory, was one of the residents. At first she had her own apartment, but when she became ill she moved into the nursing home.

Being an only child, my husband and I had the task of packing up her belongings and selling her furniture. I couldn't help but remember my mother doing the same task so many years earlier. What a painful responsibility!

The seniors at the home had amazing stories to tell about their lives and their families. Some were survivors and others were lonely and just wanted a visitor.

On most Friday mornings, I would make an Oneg Shabbat (Shabbat party) for anyone who wanted to join. I would invite a guest from our community to entertain, and would served juice and a baked dessert.

Two of their favorite guests was the rabbi who was the principal of the day school and a young man who had a beautiful voice and personality to go with it.

He would sing Shabbat songs and well known Yiddish songs that many of the residents grew up with. Everyone would join in either by singing along or just clapping their hands.

The rabbi would tell wonderful Shabbat stories and would keep everyone glued to their seats.

At first the attendance was small, but with word of mouth, and my mother-in-law bragging that her daughter-in-law ran this program, our attendance grew. Before long, many residents were coming to the program and having a wonderful time.

Several months ago, I was flipping through the TV channels to see if there was anything interesting to watch.

I came across a documentary that had just begun. It was about the elderly and how they are perceived and treated by their families. Since I had an interest in the elderly, I watched the program.

The show had a panel of five seniors, three men and two women between the ages of sixty six and eighty five. The hostess was a young woman in her thirties and she asked the panel to introduce themselves with their name, age and a short comment.

He said that children should respect their parents and help only when they are askedThe first man said he was sixty six years old and that he was very able to look after himself and his affairs, but since he turned sixty five and retired from his job his family treats him as though he were an imbecile (his description, not mine).

Next was a woman who said she was eighty plus. Truthfully you could see that both nature and time were good to her. She said that she had always been a homemaker doing all the cleaning, cooking and baking. Today, she has a woman who comes in to clean (her decision) but she still loves to cook and bake. Her family thinks that her cooking days should be over and are always sending her food and desserts, things that she never eats.

The third panelist was a man who was around seventy and still worked part time to help pass the time. He told the panel that his family was always after him to quit the job because, in their words, he doesn't need the money. He said that he loves his job and his co-workers.

The fourth panelist was a woman who was disabled and in a wheelchair. She said that she is a very proud and private person and doesn't like to have others, even her children, do things that she can do by herself.

The last man on the panel introduced himself as a young eighty five-year-old senior who was Jewish. He went on to say that in the Jewish religion, there is a very important commandment to honor your parents. He said that in his opinion, honoring parents means that the children should not be forcing their will on their parents.

The hostess asked what he meant about forcing their will. He said that children should respect their parents and help only when they are asked. He went on to say that his children think he should be living in a seniors assisted residence instead of living on his own. They think that he needs "protection" from the world, that there are con men out there to rob him blind.

This gentleman also said that he knows that his children only want the best for him but don't understand that even though he is a senior, he is still capable of looking after himself. He still drives (something they don't like either), is relatively healthy and is very active.

The lady in the wheelchair then said that her children also want her to go and live in a nursing home and be "catered" too. "They never walked into a nursing home," she said.

As the program went on, the hostess asked about children who ignore their senior parents. How do you solve this problem?

The consensus was that education was the key to solving the problems. If children learn at a young age the importance of respect for elders and being available if needed, most senior wouldn't be ignored. Parents also have to learn that they don't have the right to "demand" that their children be at their beck and call.

The program ended with some very important tips on what seniors would like from their children.

Instead of just doing, give me the courtesy of asking. For example…can I cook or bake something for you, or what would you like me to do to help? Accept is the answer is, "No, not this time."

Treat me as an adult. I may be a senior and do thing more slowly, but I can still think and do for myself.

Let me ask you for help sometimes if I feel I need it.

Pick up the phone and call to ask, "How are you today?" or "What are your plans today?"

Remember their birthday. And if you are fortunate enough to have both parents, remember their wedding anniversary.

This past May I wrote a poem that was published on TheJewishWoman.org called The Third Generation. I just wonder how many seniors are sitting at home right now and waiting for the phone to ring or a child or grandchild to visit...