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Have some respect for the elderly, if you're lucky you might end up one!

Updated on February 25, 2015

Elderly woman lonely, wishing for conversation

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What's wrong America?

Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than witnessing a young person speak LOUD and slow to an elderly person as if they are automatically deaf or dumb because they happen to be 80 years old. I was in Kroger yesterday and the cashier was treating this lady who was at least 75 years old like she was a child. I had to hold myself back from really giving this cashier a piece of my mind. It was very obvious that the elderly lady was not deaf or senile, she was clearly functioning well enough to dress up on and drive herself to the grocery store and fill a cart up with items off her grocery list.

I am almost certain that America is the only country that has such little respect for people who are elderly. In most cultures the older generations are considered wise and sought out for there experience and wisdom. I personally will take the advice of someone much older than myself before I will seek out a 20 yr old for driving directions much less advice.Our entire mentality is skewed by this idea that youth is somehow this valuable commodity that is worshipped and sought out, as women especially the feeling that our worth is somehow connected to our age is omnipresent. We are constantly trying to reverse the signs of age, fighting against nature to stay youthful and scared to death of looking our ages. I am no exception, I have so far handled the aging process with the grace of an elephant on ice skates and every year that goes by my anxiety about aging multiplies. Although I deal with my own vanity issues it has never clouded my opinion that the eldest of our population is by the far the most important portion of our society and should be treated like our most valuable asset. They say that history repeats itself, and that to avoid the mistakes of the past we must be vigilant in never forgetting the lessons learned from our mistakes. That can only happen if we give our eldest generation a voice, if we listen when they speak and not just nod our heads as we try to escape the "crazy old cat lady". Has it ever dawned on you that the "crazy cat lady" is probably wise enough from her past experience that she has come to the conclusion that cats are much better company than pesky human beings are??

Give me you opinion

Do you get irritated by slow moving elderly people?

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Some facts on how many elderly currently populate our country!

The term baby boomer describes people born between 1946 and 1964.

  • By 2020, over thirty-five percent of the United States population will be over the age of 50. .The size of the 50 plus population will more than double in the next 35 years.
  • There are currently 78 million baby boomers entering retirement. A baby boomer turns 60 every 7.5 seconds. Baby boomer will be creating tremendous changes in the workplace, healthcare field.

Don't miss out on all that knowledge!

Why do we send our grandparents to nursing homes instead of opening our own homes? I have to believe that raising your children in close proximity to your own parents or even grandparents has to be worth the equivalent of a library full of books (in most cases, obviously some people can just not live together and I understand not all families are ideal for this type of situation). My own grandparents taught me more than 90% of all the teachers I have ever had. Some of my most cherished memories are hand churning ice cream with my Pup-Up, or watching my Nina sew. My Grandfather on my Dad's side is the smartest person I have ever met, and although he is a man of very few words, he is a wealth of information and like most men given the opportunity to speak about himself he is more than happy to indulge. In those moments I have been given many intellectual gifts, and the ability to connect to the world that existed prior to my life starting.There is an undeniable simplicity that lives in the generations before us that does not exist in this new technological age we now live in. The advice you get from someone who grew up in the 30's is going to be solid, valuable solutions that most likely will save you a ton of heartache if heeded. Unfortunately in 2013 it is easier to ask Wikipedia for an answer than calling up an old lady/man who will most likely give you the correct answer, but might want to talk for 10 minutes and who has time for that right?

You know what they say about "ASSuming", right?

I happen to have neighbors down the street that I met at a tree lighting ceremony i was covering for the local paper. I am automatically drawn to the oldest people in the crowd because as a writer I find they have the most usable quotes. This couple has been living in the same house for the last 50 yrs and have been married for longer, they are the nicest people you will ever meet. I have become friends with them and try to drop off eggs to them on a regular basis and I enjoy taking my children to visit them. On my last visit Mrs. Redlawski asked me to come in because her and Mr. Redlawski needed some help, I said "OK no problem, lets check this out". What I saw was the last thing I expected. They needed help syncing there Wii paddles so they could bowl against each other. What are the chances of that? Apparently quite good, because as progression would have it, being 75 yrs old these days does not preclude you from wanting the latest technology. My point is this, do not assume. Do not scream at the old lady in line because you assume she can't hear you. Don't expect the old guy next to you on the train to be cranky. Instead why don't we all try to soak up as much information as we can from our elders before they are gone. We are only a couple generations away from not being able to talk to someone who was alive when JFK was shot, or reminisce with someone that can remember how amazingly simple and satisfying life was before the television. I dread the day that we forget how awesome it was before the Internet and video games, and smart phones and smart cars...everything and everyone thinks they are so smart these days. Trust me nothing is as smart as the people we seem to ignore, nothing is as smart as the lesson you can learn if you just ask. Take 1 day out of your life and spend the day with someone who can recount to you a time long ago. Youth is a cruel joke, it is fleeting and fickle, it is temporary and overrated.

© 2014 Karen Ranoni

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