Medical examination and medicine for the elderly—acts of love and sincere concern

Medical examination and medicine for the elderly – acts of love and sincere concerns


Last week, I had a discussion with my parents about regular medical examinations and medication for more than 30 elderly, poor, and lonely households in Truong Thanh ward, District 9. This is a group of poor households that my family provides monthly allowances for. When my parents started to visit Saigon three years ago, they began doing charity work. They discovered that even in Saigon, a prosperous urban city, the number of poor people is larger than that in the countryside. Shacks fill the alleys and remote fields of District 9.

In the countryside, we can go to the fields, catch fish, and pick vegetables. However, in Saigon, this is difficult.

When I encouraged several groups of doctors to conduct regular medical examinations and provide medication for this group of 30 people, they said:

  • We requires permission from the district.
  • We require permission from the health department.
  • We must organize, publish, and focus on doing what the county allows.

Then, another group of doctors wanted to do the above tasks quickly and neatly. They wanted to avoid publishing or broadcast anything in the newspapers or radio.

I told my parents that by the time I got permission, some of the elderly would have already passed away. The traditional way of doing things like this is to gather a few hundred elderly people, examine them for five to seven minutes, give them some pills, and send them back home. I know of another province that does this.

So what is the point of this? Volunteering requires certain sacrifices. But what does it mean when we do, we give away what we don’t need, or make it formal, for fun?

Numerous medical research works by major universities such as Harvard and Stanford show that:

  • A community that cares for each other increases its members’ life expectancy.
  • A person who is cared for and loved by others is less likely to fall sick and to have a longer life expectancy.
  • An absolute belief in the possibility of being cured and the joyfulness of the spirit can heal many diseases.

Thus, examining and giving medicine to the elderly are not intended to cure their diseases or help them live longer. Rather, they are meant to be acts of caring. Such care and love somewhat comfort lonely elderly people. The elderly have a chance to live a happier life and reduce the pain of their illness. Such charitable acts must come from the heart, from real love, and from sincere concern. Nothing can compare to a joy of a poor, old, sick, or single person who has a chance to be visited, examined, comforted and encouraged by a doctor. When they pass away, they will do so with a smile. The names of their children will not be on their lips; rather, they will speak the names of their doctors.

I would like to thank Dr. Chu Dinhkhac and Doctor Thuy Le for accompanying me in this approach.

Tony Tinh – Be Better Foundation