The elderly in our lives were held in high esteem and they were often sought out for advice about love, marriage, home remedies for illnesses and life itself.
As important members of our families, old folk were not only a source of advice and guidance, but they also helped raise our children.
However, a complete change has taken place when it comes to the elderly people and the place the hold in today’s society. They are no longer involved in the rearing of their grandchildren and have been replaced by daycare centers, the internet, televisions and videos games.
The sense of family unity, love of community, respect and care for our fellow man instilled in children by their grandparents has all been lost in the absence of these valuable sources of knowledge and experience.
The elderly folks in today’s society are treated more like old furniture than part of a family. They are dusted off every so often and taken out of the house for a trip to the mall or a fast food restaurant; or they are simple placed in convalescent homes where they spend the rest of their life lonely and forgotten.
There are, however, some cultures and communities around the world where the elderly population is still treated with love and respect. They also hold important positions as head of families and beacon of wisdom and knowledge, guiding and paving the way for younger generations.
Sadly, in our western cultures, the elderly population is not treated with the respect and dignity they deserve and are sometimes the subject of abuse, mockery and ridicule.
It’s time for us to reconcile with our elderly population and recognize the value they provide to our society as a source of history and experience. It’s time for us to be patient and gentle with the elderly people in our lives, as hearing, sight and short term memory diminishes with age.
There are simple things we can do to make our elderly feel loved and cared for as valuable part of our families
- Speak loud and clearly without yelling at them.
- Get them involved in the meal cooking process by inviting them to peel the potatoes or help with setting the table.
- If there’s an event taking place in the family, let them know why and when it’s happening.
- Don’t whisper in their presence as if you are hiding something.
- Get them talking by asking about what life was like when they were young.
- Hug and kiss them often. Let them know that you love and appreciate them and that you’re proud to be part of their descendants.
Loving, respecting and interacting with our elderly loved ones help keep them alert and oriented; it exercises their brain and helps prevent dementia, Alzheimer’s and other mental degenerative diseases.
Share your ideas on how to re-integrate the elderly into our society and make use of the vast knowledge and experience they possess.