The elderly deserve our attention and a sense of dignity

What do people have against the elderly?

In many cultures, the more senior members of the group, the elderly, are revered and treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

But not here in America. Once you hit a certain age and you’re perceived to be a burden, people just forget about you all together. People whom without their existence we ourselves would not exist and yet we cast them aside like a snotty old tissue.

There’s an elderly woman on my block who has many grandchildren, and yet in the nine years that we’ve been neighbors, I can count on my hands how many times they’ve been around to visit her. A gentleman I’m acquainted with has his adult grandson living just a few towns away from him and yet it’s been over a year since the two have seen each other.

Yes, elderly people can be crotchety – if you ask my wife, so can I. But all they really want is to be remembered, to feel appreciated and to be shown that the end of their life has just as much meaning as the beginning.

After all, we all want to know that we have meaning in this life – regardless of our age or position. To have a purpose for whatever time we have left on this earth whether that’s bringing a smile to someone’s face or just sharing a treasured story for long ago. We all want to feel that kind of value.

With any luck, we’ll all live to see our 80’s and 90’s. Here’s hoping many of us will be surrounded by family and friends who still treat us like human beings.

I thought this was the perfect ending for this post, “When you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you…If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster. That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life.” –Warren Buffett