Monday, March 23

Respect for Elders

I am rather fed up with all the negative rubbish in the press about the large number of elderly people (with growing numbers of course) and the high cost of caring for them/us in the future.  I am also fed up with being treated with disrespect, condescendence etc. though I admit to being one of the lucky ones as for some reason I "don't look my age" or sound like I am old - according to some conversations I have had.

A lovely lady the other day told of how she was spoken to in a bank - in a very condescending manner and how she "retaliated".  I had to laugh!  But it is a real dilemma for old people who are not treated with the respect that they deserve.  

Even going to a doctor can be challenging.  We get the message that we are old and to "suck it up"!  Many of us are just given tablets - in an almost random way.  A weekend article reported the high cost of this over medication regime of doctors.  Just think how much money would be saved if people (and it is not just the elderly) are prescribed medication randomly.  There is much research being done on this at the moment.

I saw on the ABC yesterday of a retirement "village" in the US where many former film industry folk live and how they are creating a series and a movie about their life in the establishment.  They are doing something because they can.  There was also a segment about men visiting groups of men in a nursing home for "man talk" as if when they are with women they can't do man talk!!  Not sure what that means!!

Many elderly wonder what is going on - they see the young of today earning excessive amounts of money - especially in comparison to what they earned in their early working days.  It is well known that women do not earn as much as men, and indeed their retirement/superannuation is far less than men of the same age - because women take time out of the workforce to raise children.

With all the negative talk, and the absence from the press (unless you read Seniors magazines and the talk about the high cost of keeping seniors alive in the future) it is no wonder that younger people have a difficult time with older people.

I recall years ago doing a presentation in a nursing home about some of the things the folk would remember and they talked for a long time about the items, times, that I spoke about.  But it was the reaction of the nursing staff who accompanied their "patients" that amazed me.

They had no idea about the things that made the seniors folk sit up straight and talk about.  It was as if there was a complete difference in language between the two age groups.  I found it quite frightening in a way.

Perhaps we need to education young people in the ways of seniors, and show them how to respect everyone who is not the same as them - race, colour, ethnicity and age!





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