The way younger people have viewed the older generation has changed over the years. At one time the older members of our community were revered and considered wise and knowledgeable from their life experience. However, nowadays young people often look at older people with disdain, assuming they have various health issues and are a little bit doddery in their ways.
Maybe the way youth look on the older generation is due to how they are viewed in the media? There are not many television programmes or films that feature people over the age of 60 and when they are mentioned it’s often not in a good light. Adverts that feature older people are often for different health problems, scrutinising every problem that old age may throw at us, making older people appear weak and not as worthy in our community, which is quite frankly ridiculous in my opinion!
Both of my parents and my husbands parents are into their 60’s and there is nothing about them that would make me consider them ‘old’. My parents enjoy hillwalking (and I don’t mean a short meander around a loch, they walk a lot more miles than we do!) and will be walking the West Highland Way next year. My father in-law had great fun on several amazing zip lines out in Canada last month. Everyone has little health niggles, but that does not stop you being able to get on with life, doing exactly what you want and being knowledgeable about a great deal of subjects. There are also many solutions to those little health niggles, whether it requires a visit to a doctor or a modified shower, healthcare has advanced in the last few decades giving everyone the chance of a better standard of life, as well as longer life expectancy.
Life experience should be respected and not mocked because it takes a little while to remember a fact. When I get into my 80’s and have lived a long and exciting life it shouldn’t surprise my children that I can’t always remember facts or names straight away, my brain will be holding so much information it takes a while to search a specific piece of information out!
What I do want is for younger people to look up to their elders and ask questions, find out what experiences they have had in their lives and help them remember. I used to love listen to my grandpa’s stories of when he lived in Africa as a child and how he and his fellow soldiers went from country to country in WWII chasing the war, which just happened to have moved on whenever he arrived. He died two years ago at the age of 99 and I miss hearing those stories, but it was always good to know that he had lived a long and interesting life and I’m grateful that he met both our boys.
Let’s break those barriers and learn to respect our elders, learn from them and support them however we can. I love the campaign #Breakingbarriers that Bathing Solutions are running, they are working hard to break the social barriers of old age, check it out here.
* This is a collaborative post.