January 27, 2019

Respect your elders!

We know the phrase and, depending on your age, “elder” can mean many things. My grandmother, at 94, took her walker to check on the “elderly” during a heat wave. At 20, being 40 was old and 60 the “crypt keeper”. Now that I am looking at 60, I am thinking not so much “crypt keeper” as aging to perfection.

Respecting older people starts with actually listening to them. But, let's face it, people rarely listen. We can see people’s eyes glaze. Sometimes they are thinking of their response instead of listening. It is important to try to listen when older people tell you something. First, it is simply good manners and you might hear something that will be of help. They have been there, done that. The second important reason for listening to older people is they may be asking for help.

Because many of our older people today are proud and from a fiercely independent generation, they often find it difficult to ask when they need help. Everyone should be afforded respect. The older we get our lives become history. Modern life has changed all recognition and the memories of my 1960s childhood, which are now a history of another way of life - a life that may seem almost unbelievable to teens of today. Today's teens know little or nothing about things like carbon paper and typewriters, rotary dial phones, and fly windows on the car.

Would we have learned anything about how a society should be run if the survivors of two world wars and, in particular the Holocaust, had not told their stories to someone who listened? Their stories show us that something can be learned about the past and from where we came.

                                               "Sure I'm for helping the elderly. I'm going to be old myself someday."
                                                                                                              Lillian Gordy Carter


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