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How to Treat The Elderly The Way They Want to be Treated

Updated on April 21, 2014

Elderly people

"are, and I am struggling for words, in a class of their own. They have their own thinking, lifestyles, routines and opinions.

My grandparents were elderly. Eventually my own parents grew to be elderly. This was tough to watch.

I found out something last month that left me dumbfounded. There are actually people (with rational minds) in our country who still do not know how to really treat elderly people.

What I have compiled (below), is a list of things to do and don't do around elderly people and just really a written pocket manual on . . ."How to Treat Elderly People The Way They Want to be Treated," so when you encounter and elderly person, you will know exactly what and what not to do.

This is an attractive elderly lady.
This is an attractive elderly lady. | Source
One in every crowd. See the one guy asleep? He is the only one who passed out to sleep because of his elderly body being tired.
One in every crowd. See the one guy asleep? He is the only one who passed out to sleep because of his elderly body being tired. | Source
This photo defines an elderly lady.
This photo defines an elderly lady. | Source
Napping anywhere is a natural thing to elderly men.
Napping anywhere is a natural thing to elderly men. | Source

Words not to say around the elderly

  1. Kick the bucket - not to be used in any conversation.
  2. Bad ticker - you might mean a broken watch, but the elderly will think "bad heart."
  3. Doctor - any mention of a doctor will scare the elderly
  4. Gone to Heaven - if you got to share the sad story how "Ed," your pet fish passed away, say that he is in "that big fishbowl in the sky."
  5. Choke - even if you mean a pro baseball pitcher who blew a no-hitter.
  6. Croak - even if you are complimenting the bullfrog you saw last night when you went fishing with a buddy.

Words and phrases you "can" use around the elderly

  1. Peaceful
  2. Rest
  3. Nap time
  4. Hammock
  5. Long life
  6. Take it easy
  7. It's not your birthday
  8. Elderly? Who's elderly?

Things not to do around the elderly

  1. Jump into the room and yell, "Surprise!" - at a certain age, the elderly lose their sense of humor and focus on just surviving.
  2. Throw cold water on them for a Christmas prank - similar to above reason, but this reason is that cold water, even in a warm room, may cause the elderly person to have a chill and have to be rushed to the emergency room.
  3. Show the elderly man a centerfold in the current Playboy magazine - no explanation needed.
  4. Talk too loud to them - this will also scare them into deep shock, so be careful when talking to the elderly.
  5. Grab them out of their easy chairs - and make them dance with them. In their yesteryears, they loved dancing, but in their advanced years, they only care about their bones not breaking.

Things you "can" do around the elderly

  1. Talk quietly even if the elderly are awake.
  2. Do not move suddenly for the elderly scare easily.
  3. Laugh softly. The elderly hate loud, boisterous horse-laughing.
  4. Showing them peaceful photos of family, meadows, sunsets and picnics.

and my last one is my favorite . . .

Hold their hands while softly kissing them on the cheek and whisper, "I love you."

Note: I am now 60 years of age. If you do not mind, I am going to keep this story all for myself so I can let my grandkids read and memorize it.



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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      My Dear Lrc7815,

      Wow, what a very nice comment that you left me. I hope that I will be worthy of your sentiments.

      I meant every word of this hub. I watched my parents as they declined in their latter years, and thank God, neither one of them lost the use of their minds. In fact, my mother was in a lot fo ways, sharper than the family members and the nurse who was tending to her.

      And my dad was the same. He went, once, into his boyhood and told of how many fiddling contests he won and he was a fantastic fiddle player when I was around 10.

      They passed with dignity. That makes me better.

      Thanks too for your votes.

      Love, K.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Having written many pieces about my Dad's Alzheimer's disease and moving both my parents ito assisted-living, I could not leave your profile without reading this piece. I found all that I had hoped to find here. There was sensitivity, respect, love, and a bit of humor. Humor is so important. Even in his demented state of mind, my Dad still loves to evoke laughter. Sometimes we laugh with him just to make him feel good. The most important thing for us is that element of human touch. As you said - hold the hands while kissing a cheek. I love this piece of writing Kenneth. Voting up, awesome, beautiful, and sharing it too.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dearest Catgypsy (I still enjoy typing that name)

      Thank you so very much for the very sweet comment. Sometimes in a cloud of humor is a nugget of truth.

      That sounded intelligent, right?

      God bless you my DEAR friend for being YOU.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear elayne001,

      You are so right. I wish I could meet your granddad. My grandparents on my dad's side did not like me when I was young.

      I had to stay summers with them when my school was out and my grandpa was always chasing me for just playing in the yard.

      I always wondered why I was hated so much.

      Oh well. Thanks for your kind comment and I wish you would be one of my followers.

      God bless.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, mgt28,

      Thank you sincerely for your lively comment. Your compliment is from a heart that is way too kind, but I will remember this for years to come.

      God bless you my friend.

    • catgypsy profile image


      4 years ago from the South

      Funny, but some serious ones too. You have a way with turning any subject into an entertaining piece! Great hub!

    • elayne001 profile image


      4 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      You are kind to suggest things that should or shouldn't be said around the elderly. My father, turning 88, tells jokes all the time and mostly about being older. He knows every one of his friends that has shown up in the obituaries and he tears up every time he talks about mother who passed away seven years ago. Getting old is for the brave. I hope you and I are lucky enough to get elderly. Ooops, I guess I am already there!

    • mgt28 profile image


      4 years ago

      I have read many comical stories in my local papers, I have not come any that comes close to any of the hubs you are publishing. No matter how serious the articles is supposed to be, I find myself laughing. Even your choice of images, and how you caption them.


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