Why is it that some communities do not celebrate aging?
This question crossed my mind recently after hearing two young children talking.
The elder of the two, was telling the other, that he shouldn’t ask someone’s age as it is rude.
I remember being told as a child it was impolite to ask an older person what their age was. It was also considered to be bad manners for a gentleman to ask a lady her age .
Rather than indirectly suppressing our youths curiosities, would it not serve us better to encourage them? Instead of discouraging, we could reassure younger people that it is okay to be interested in our older generations.
The aged have adapted to numerous changes over their lifetimes. Strength of character and resilience grew with each passing year.
These attributes served them well over the years. However, now, this is not often the case. Many now feel isolated and incredibly lonely.
Most of us know someone who lives in aged care. Or we have heard stories of our senior citizens in nursing homes. The heartbreaking stories of those residents who do not receive a single visitor nor a phone call, letter or card, all year.
This just saddens me to the core.
I would love to see a change ripple across the globe. A change whereby children and young people alike, are able to engage on a regular basis with our seniors.
Such interactions may become readily possible. There is a growing movement of combining childcare centres and university accommodation within the grounds of nursing homes or very close by.
This is encouraging as it is enabling regular interactions between the generations due to their close proximity. This can only foster understanding, respect and health benefits.
Engagement between young and old will also help our aged folks realise their value. It will help to remind them that they still have much to offer to the world.
Elderly people are not a burden on society, they are an asset. They have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. Their skills can be passed down to the younger of the populous.
Imagine a generation of people who are no longer lonely and isolated. Couple this with generations of younger people who are gaining knowledge, skills and values.
Wouldn’t this make for much happier and healthier communities across the world?
This would be incredible! I think the very first small step we can take towards this, is not imposing upon children that it is impolite or even rude to ask an older person their age.
Give them opportunities to ask the question, answer their curiosity, engage with our aged and vice-versa.
It is time for aging to be seen in a positive light and no longer consider the aged folks as a burden.
Let’s celebrate the longevity and collective wisdom of our older citizens. Let’s celebrate loved ones being with us for their most latter years.
We are fortunate to have these wise old souls still with us. Let’s celebrate aging!
Further reading: My take on engaging with our older generations in Engage with Kindness
Photo credit: debowscyfoto from Pixabay