Beyond Tradition - Respecting the Elderly

Darryl Bachmeier
Oct 16, 2020
Social


They say the journey is more important than the destination. We are all heading the same end of life but what we do while trudging through it can make a difference, even to people we encounter along the way.

We will most probably be drawn to have close relationships with people around the same age as we do. But it is also inevitable that we will meet or live with people younger or older than us.

Children need our care and guidance while the elderly will cherish our companionship and time. The latter would most probably impact us greater than anyone. Aside from learning from their experience, we get to have a glimpse of our future selves.

Nuggets of Wisdom

Engaging in conversations with the elderly is a different kind of experience. Somehow, it is almost automatic that they will share pieces of their past lives with us. What starts as stories, before we know it, become handful of nuggets of wisdom.

However, not all conversations with the elderly are pleasant. Some may find them boring or repeating at some point. It’s a natural inclination to be like that, especially when they are sick or already in the prime years where their memories have dwindled.

But getting yourself in a conversation with an elderly is a gem in terms of getting wisdom. And we are speaking about wisdom from personal experience - a lifelong trial and error honed by different situations and environments.

Sometimes, it’s refreshing to talk to the elderly about how lives were lived in the past. These conversations are rich because of the following reasons:

History

The elderly already lived several decades which made them experience historical situations and periods before we were born. We might learn something new from a different perspective other than from historians and school books.

Experience

By this time, the elderly already had experienced more than we do in many aspects from childhood to parenting and even in career and business.

At this point in their lives, what makes them truly rich are the lessons they learned from personal experiences. Wisdom contains timeless lessons that even though times have changed, continues to be relevant and remain true.

Elderlies are credible witnesses to real-life situations that we will eventually encounter as we move along our journey. It’s a privilege to learn these things from people who actually experienced it.

Transition of genenerations

Elderlies may have seen several generation shifts throughout their lifetime. Through these, they were able to have a different appreciation of what we all have today. This is the reason why they tend to compare their season with ours.

Understanding Aging

We always hear “respect the elderly” from our parents even way back in our childhood days. Some may look at it as a cultural thing, but generally, we ought to give high respect for the elderly because they deserve it.

For one, they are the forefathers of the present generation. If not how they asked questions, fought for their rights, took care of their children, sought fulfillment of their needs, and sparked innovation, we won’t have anything we have today.

Aging is a natural process. And at some points, it can be frustrating and painful to undergo. We lose our vitality, strength, and independence. We have to understand that it is a challenging situation to be in for our elderlies and that’s the time they need our full support.

Caring for the elderly requires a lot of patience, understanding, and love for them on our end.

Physical limitations

Most elderly people struggle with losing their capability in doing ordinary, everyday tasks. When you are living with the elderly, make sure you keep their surroundings free from the clutter that will impair their mobility. Ensure, too, that their personal needs are within their reach. Doing so can help them feel more confident about themselves. Experiencing even little independence can go a long way.

Regression

Aside from physical limitations, it is inevitable that an elderly’s mind will experience regression. This happens when they forget parts of their memories, including people they used to know - very close to them or not so much. At the onset of a condition called dementia, even the basic know-hows like reading, writing, peeing, and walking tend to be forgotten.

You’ll need extra patience for elderly people experiencing regression. And they also need more love and understanding at this point. They deserve the same loving hands that will care for them as they did for us when we were little and have no knowledge about life.

Emotions

Aside from regression, elderly people may have trouble controlling their emotions. It is common to find elderlies who are sensitive to criticisms or are sentimental about their family and children. It isn’t easy to deal with life with physical and mental limitations, most especially when they are alone.

The best we can do is to carve as much time to spend with them. Having our presence, especially if they are family, can alleviate their feelings of fear and uncertainty as they approach the end of life.

Helping Them Get Through the Golden Years

As our way of gratitude and appreciation for the lives of our elderly family, we can help them get through their final years. These things can ease them as they go through their prime years in life.

Ears to listen

Most elderly people are inclined to sharing stories and experiences with the people they meet. Maybe it is their way to give back or it’s their period to recollect memories as they go through the “last leg” of life. By lending an ear to elderly people, it’s like telling them they matter and they’ve to lead a fulfilling life.

Spend time to do simple activities

Elderly people also get bored spending their whole day doing almost nothing. If you can find the time, you can engage them in simple activities like gardening, sewing, or the likes. You can ask them about their usual past times when they were younger and try to do it with them again.

Bring kids with you

Elderly people yearn to feel youthful again. By bringing the grandkids to their homes can help them recollect the memories of their children’s childhood, or even theirs. It somehow helps them regain a part of their strength and vigor.

Spending more time with family

Elderly people also yearn for more family time. Surrounding themselves with familiar things and people comforts them and makes them feel important. If you can, spend the holidays with them and never miss celebrating their birthdays. It boosts their morale and makes them feel loved and cared for.

Provide healthcare

As their bodies become fragile and their physical capacity limited, they need all the support and assistance to ease their everyday living.

Providing them the right healthcare not only prolongs their lives but also improve its quality. By helping them in this aspect, you help them get through their prime years better.

Gestures of appreciation

Nothing is comparable with feelings of a well-lived life. A simple “thank you” or if resources permits, a grand appreciation party can honor an elderly best.

Wrap Up

Respecting the elderly is more than paying tribute to their contributions. It is also helping them ease through the last stage of their lives by making it as comfortable as possible.

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