What happened to showing respect for the older population? Do we care for the elderly in the U.S.?
Something has changed. It seems that every country, except the U.S., has a reverence and respect for the elderly. Other countries care for them, spend time with them, and make sure their health needs are addressed. In the U.S. it appears that we don't seem to have time nor patience regarding the elderly.
My greatest pleasures resulted from me stopping to having conversations with older people. Elders sharing everything from their vacation photos, to regrets/joys of life, to life lessons. My life is enriched by my brief time with them.
Do you feel the U.S. reveres/honors the elderly?
In the United States, especially with the ascent of the youth culture, being old is viewed quite negatively. It is seen as a disease and a pathology. It is viewed as a degeneration of sorts. Many Americans, including older Americans, worship, even deify youth. They view youth as the VERY BEST time of life in all its essence.
Age and becoming older is viewed with great apprehension in American society. It used to be in the early 1960s, that approaching 30 was the harbinger of middle age and subsequent decline. Being 40 in the 1960s was seen as the beginning of middle age and 50 was.....well, getting over the hill. Old age was seen as the start of decline and something to be avoided as long as possible.
The emphasis in American culture is YOUTH. Becoming older, particularly old age is viewed as the kiss of death. There are so many negative associations with being old such as physical and mental decline.
Many Americans also view old people as genderless, even neutral. They are also FEARFUL of old age because old people represent their future. They see old people as ominous harbingers. They also contend that old people are socioculturally irrelevant, thinking what does an old person have to tell them in this postmodern culture.
They see old person as tolerable inconveniences at best and noisome nuisances at worst. Old age is simply an psycho-emotional eyesore to many Americans. Sadly, youth and young people are glorified while old people are ostracized, stigmatized, demonized, even marginalized in our youthful, youth-oriented, and youth-obsessed society and culture.
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