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Charlie Davidson

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Can the elderly play an important role in today's society?

Typically, elders are thought of to hold a certain wisdom and knowledge. But in today's society, we have the internet and many other valuable sources to acquire knowledge. Wisdom is becoming less and less valued, and elderly persons are thought to hold out-dated views.

Youth dominates today's society, and the elders that attempt to keep up with the times are pushed to become youthful as well. Many elders are moved to retirement communities as their health declines. Ultimately, there is a lack of their presence in influencing modern life.

In a society where everything new and young is valued, is there a place for our elderly? If not, should we attempt to create a place for them? Could the elderly ever become a largely influential part of our society?

EDIT: I use the term "elderly" to refer to the elderly who are seemingly inactive, and have been deemed overdue. Ones with health deteriorating so they can't do many "active" things because their physical shape prevents it. Do those elderly play a large role in today's society that is not apparent to us? If not, what largely influential role could we give them that could ultimately change the outcome of today's world?


This question is directed towards the U.S. and countries that treat their senior citizens similarly.

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  • Apr 23 2014: Your question implies that all "elderly" people are the same and so should be treated the same. They aren't. Some are old and wise, some old and stupid. Some are old and healthy, some old and ailing. Some have life experience that is worth learning from, and others managed to exist for decades while learning very little.

    I am reaching that age at which someone is going to call me 'elderly' one of these days. (First one to do so gets a punch in the mouth.) When I get there, I won't care how "society" treats me as I will be too busy figuring out how I should treat "society". People who say and do smart things will have my respect; people who are dumb and/or selfish, won't, regardless of their age. If I have knowledge or experience to offer that is relevant to something being discussed, I will offer it; if not, I will keep quiet.

    No I won't. I never keep quiet.

    The only difference between a young me and an old me is that the old me has started switching my lust from a Ferrari to a Bentley.
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      Apr 23 2014: Well said, but as I am already there.... I was fortunate enough in my misspent youth to gain some insight into a number of relevant issues. I use this forum to express my views and as you mention, I am not quiet.
      On a more personal note, Lust changes into vague memories and it goes from Bentleys to Carex, a well made wheel chair.
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      Apr 25 2014: My question did not imply a desired treatment of anyone. I do admit though that my term "elderly" encapsulated a wide array of people. I'm 15; please excuse my ignorance. Read my edit above, perhaps it will help.
      P.S. Sorry if I offended you.
      • Apr 25 2014: You didn't offend me. Even if you had done so, at 15 you're allowed to. I was 15 once, but it was so long ago all I remember was being madly in love with Sue Liddiard.

        Keep posting.
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        Apr 25 2014: Oh my goodness Charlie.....I remember when I was 15, and I thought anyone age 30 or older was "elderly".....over the hill!!! As I approach 70, I think I am a kid! LOL:>)

        You write..." I use the term "elderly" to refer to the elderly who are seemingly inactive, and have been deemed overdue"!!! Deemed "overdue" for WHAT......by WHOM???

        Perhaps you could re-think all the generalizations you have made....or not.....it is a choice:>)
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          Apr 25 2014: Well I find it difficult to narrow it down. I would say an age, but as another commenter pointed out, some elderly people are active until their departure. (My middle-aged father was smoked by elderly contenders in a race once. It was hilarious when he realized he recieved last place.)
          I typically think of my grandmother, not physically capable, but amazing in mind, deemed overdue by her children who put her in the care facility. She's 81. I wondered what system could we create so that she still impact the future, and then I wondered if maybe it's not a good idea.
          It's all been speculation though. No solid thoughts have been created yet. Another commenter pointed out this situation applies to young people as well, deemed physically incapable by illnesses and injury. So perhaps in my speculation I latched onto the most prevalent group of people I could find, considering it was exactly them who I had in mind when I hatched the idea.

          Perhaps this question applies to all disabled persons instead of elderly. I don't know. But then again not all disabled and elderly persons have lack of influence. Maybe we could narrow it way down to those with an "expiration date". Those told by doctors that they have so much time left to live. The point is, how can we make inactive people active again?Should we?
          Who are the inactive people? I have no clue anymore.
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        Apr 25 2014: Charlie,
        Perhaps you "find it difficult to narrow it down", because you have not personally had the experiences?

        LOL! Your story of your father getting beaten by elderly contenders reminds me.....

        In my 30s, I started playing tennis, and joined with a friend to sign up for a little local tournament. We were strong, healthy athletes, so when we were matched against a team in their 60s, we just laughed! The laughter and confidence in ourselves was premature however! Those two older ladies beat us handily! They didn't move a lot, but were very precise in returning shots so that we were running all over the place to return their shots! It was a great lesson for us:>)

        I suggest that your grandmother can still impact people in the care facility. I think of my mother, who at 87 had terminal cancer, and the last few months of her life, she moved into a care facility. When she was moving in, she said...these people all look sad and hopeless...they need some humor and laughter...which she began to provide for her last few months of life.

        Good point Charlie...perhaps your question applies to all people who are challenged in some way?

        You mention an "expiration date" given to people by doctors. I volunteered in a terminal care facility for a couple years, and everyone there had a suspected "expiration date"....in fact one requirement for admission, was a prognosis by a doctor that they had 6 months or less to live.

        Because the staff understood the life/death cycle, there tended to be less fear about death, and people were often joyful, and certainly impacted all those around. Then there were the cases like the person with the brain tumor, given a few months to live.....he was there for 3 years!

        You write..."The point is, how can we make inactive people active again? Should we? Who are the inactive people? I have no clue anymore."

        Perhaps it depends on how you judge active/inactive? I will consider myself "active" while taking my last breath...how about you?
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          Apr 26 2014: Very good point, Colleen! And your experience as a terminal care facility's volunteer, its very interesant. It must have been a nice job, undoubtedly hard, but interesant.
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        Apr 28 2014: It was very interesting Sean.
        I faced my own near death, spent time with a relative and two friends as they were dying, and because I am not afraid of death, decided to volunteer at the terminal care facility. I love taking the journey with people as they/we face the dying process. Because some folks have fear of death, it is sometimes difficult for the one dying to express everything they would like to express.

        It was interesting to observe different people, different families when facing their own death, and the death of loved ones. It was very interesting to hear their life stories.....what was important to them....etc.

        One thing I learned, is that those who felt they had lived a full and content life had no regrets, and were emotionally comfortable with the fact that they were leaving this earth.

        Those who had regrets had more discomfort and discontent with the dying process. They often expressed the idea that they were not finished yet....they couldn't leave yet. Unfortunately, they WERE leaving the earth, and sometimes they could rectify situations.....apologize to people they loved for something....say something that they had thought about for years and never expressed....things like that.

        My observation, is that we live as we die, and we die as we live.
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    Apr 27 2014: Charlie, My belief is that as long as you open your eyes in the morning, it's never too late to make a difference.

    My own mother will be 74 tomorrow. She was recently appointed to the NJ State Legislature to serve on Governor Christie's Committee on Education. She is also the president of the Board of Education for her district. There are many days when I cannot keep up with what she wants to go and do. So who is old?

    There are so many ways to be a part of something that have nothing to do with physical abilities. Have you considered young people who may be sick or in a wheelchair? They may need the same amount of care that an elderly person may need but we don't warehouse them, right?

    I remember a woman with very silver hair in the diploma receiving line at my son's college graduation. Her grandchildren were standing on the chairs so they could see her and cheer her on.

    I also very fondly remember my grandfather, who passed away at the age of 93. When he was 81, he took a job driving the "old folks" as he called them to the casinos. At 91, he purchased a new car. His position was, so long as he was here, he would do what he wants. The week before he passed away, he ate octopus for the very first time.

    So to answer you question, yes, they play am important role. If they bring a smile to their families, to their friends, but most importantly to themselves. that has value. And while they may not be able to text (just a joke, mom) you might want to take out a deck of cards, sit down and spend an hour listening to what they have to say. You will hear stories of how they made it through times you cannot imagine in your wildest dreams. It may make you appreciate what you have even more. But to get this priceless information, you have to sit down and listen. If you don't have a grandmother around, I suggest that you borrow one - they are always available for a game of gin with a glass of cold tea and a warm smile waiting just for you!
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      Apr 28 2014: I LOVE that Amy, and it is SO true...."as long as you open your eyes in the morning, it's never too late to make a difference."

      It reminds me of my mom, who used to sit down with the morning paper and coffee early in the day. She looked at the obituaries first, and announced with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face....."well.....I'm not in there today, so it's going to be a good day".

      I love your stories....thanks:>) Regarding your grandfather and the "old folks".....
      In their 80s, my parents delivered "meals on wheels" (a program in this area which supplies meals to homebound people), to the "old folks", as they called them!
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        Apr 28 2014: Hi Colleen,
        So, funny, my mother does exactly the same thing. She opens the news to the obits and yells, Hooray! I'm not dead! Another thing she says is age is mind over matter....If you don't mind, it don't matter.

        Love that story about your parents. It just shows that no matter their age, they had a young state of mind.

        What I find very important to remember when dealing with anyone who may need some extra care in their golden years, is that god willing I will be there too someday, and I would want someone to take good care of me. Best to you Colleen.
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          Apr 29 2014: That is funny Amy....your mom does the same thing? Maybe it is more common then we might think!

          That's another good one....age is mind over matter....if you don't mind, it don't matter!

          I used to say all the time, to myself and others....age is a state of mind...and I truly believe that to some extent. Now as I age, I believe it is also a state of body, and it helps to be able to adjust to the changes. We can continue to be young at heart, while the energy levels and physical strength do in fact change....at least for me....and I notice it in my buddies as well:>)

          That being said, because of the life lessons I had the opportunity to explore, I feel much more emotionally strong than when I was young. It's important to find the balance at any stage of the life adventure:>)

          I believe we can all support each other in our life journey, and it may be good for all of us to not disqualify old folks from that process. We/they may still have an important role to play in each other's lives:>)

          Best to you too Amy.....may we all age with grace and acceptance:>)
      • Apr 29 2014: Hi Dear Colleen:).how is going?I just watched the news about USA hurricane and tornado there,how about you?

        you are always so positive:)give you five.
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          May 1 2014: Hi Edulover, and thank you for thinking of me:>)

          Here in the northeast, we are getting the impact of the storms....lots of high winds and rain...some flooding here and there....the lake and rivers are really high (we biked near the lake a couple days ago, and lots of places are flooded along the bike path)....the pump in my cellar is running constantly, to take the water from inside to outside....roads have washed out in places, etc.

          However, It is NOTHING like what they are experiencing in the south, with incredible amounts of rain, hurricanes, tornados, and lots of very destructive flooding.

          Thanks again for thinking of me:>)

          BTW, since we are talking about elderly, I learned something very interesting the other day...
          Did you ever hear that when we are older, cold and rainy conditions bother our joints more? I guess that's why lots of folks move to warmer climates as they age!

          Anyway, I learned from my physical therapist, that when the barometric pressure in the atmosphere changes, the barometric pressure in our joints changes as well. When we are young, we don't notice it, because the joints are well lubricated, and connective tissues are strong and working well. As we age, and the joints and connective tissues start to break down, the pressure in the joints sometimes causes discomfort/pain. I used to think it was a myth that older folks could sense the change based on how their joints felt, and now I learn the reason why it actually happens.....interesting huh?
      • May 2 2014: Thanks for the sharing about older people caring:)although I am not in that age yet,I can understand what you shared.Because my father does complain a lot when it is a bit cold.I live in South of China.It isn't cold at all in sprinig,but my father still feel not comfortable in the joints.

        I do think of you often.Because from reading your lots of ideas I know you are really a graceful lady :).I learn a lot from you.Thank you:).I think i need to write an email to you,because I do remember I ower your one long time ago:).
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          May 5 2014: Thank you for your kind words Edulover, and I enjoy your e-mails very much....thanks for being you, and sharing the gift with me:>)
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          May 5 2014: There is a super suppliment for joints - helps tremendously the young and the elderly!!
          It's called MSM. If you are not familiar with this natural suppliment please check this out on an internet-I'm sure you can find it in your area.. You may take up to 12 grams per day. This stuff helps to HEAL fast!! I hope our favorite lady, Colleen, knows about it.

          Cheers,
          Vera Nova
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      Apr 28 2014: By far one of my favorite answers so far. Thanks
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        Apr 28 2014: Thanks Charlie, Please allow me to add one more bit of advice. Try hard not to ever lump any age group into a negative category. For example, old people don't contribute much or teens are lazy or thirty somethings are materialistic or 50 years old men go through midlife crises and women are difficult with menopause. Didn't that sound just horribly prejudice, mean and bias? That's because it was, and I have heard all of those comments. Always know that there are good points and bad points about each.age group and you should give people an opportunity to show you who they are and what they stand for before you assume anything.

        I will admit that some seniors can be set in their ways, but familiarity is comforting and at their age they probably are pretty sure about what pleases them and what they prefer to do and how they prefer to live. They also deserve our kindness and respect as they have seen so much and raised their families and worked all of their lives. And Charlie, if you want to know what they think or how they see things, just ask them. You will be surprised at how willing they are to share their thoughts with you, as well as patiently listen to yours.
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          May 1 2014: In wilderness and some ancient cultures the great respect for the elderly is common.

          For instance, Japan observes Respect for the Aged Day. But I think there is much more to it - as we grow up we need to know about some experience we have not had yet...
          Our need in the elderly (older) people also makes them respect themselves -- they feel important when they are asked to share their own experience with others..
  • Apr 28 2014: I hope so since I just had my 70th birthday. I am still working on research, giving lectures, mentoring elementary student in reading and math, and helping middle and high school students with their homework at a homeless shelter.

    Forgot to mention, I am negotiating starting my 3rd company.
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      Apr 28 2014: Happy Birthday Wayne, and wishing you a continually happy, content, productive life:>)
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      Apr 25 2014: WOW Carolyn.....that is amazing!!! Perhaps you could try connecting with different elderly people, because what you describe is nothing like what I experience in myself, or with numerous, even older friends and relatives!
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          Apr 25 2014: Carolyn,
          Is reading detective novels or history from only one point of view a bad thing in your perception? I think of my lovely neighbor/friend, who died a couple years ago at age 92. She was a retired educator, was very well read, and knew history from many various angles....in fact had personally experienced history in the making.

          As she aged, her eyesight deteriorated, and toward the end of her life she had memory issues as well. She started reading large print novels for entertainment. I think it was great that she kept reading.....anything!

          You say you fear you "will be like them....". Perhaps it is your fear which causes you to judge harshly?

          A lot of older people (70 - 100) have seen many changes in our world, and sometimes (speaking for myself now) it feels really good to sit down with a good mystery, and just relax with the book. I don't really understand how you perceive that as so bad.

          You say..."I only speak this way because we send young boy and girls to fight wars now...and my older people seem to have no to little guilt about this and are more likely to plan a holiday or go to a restaurant then support a new way of looking at problems..."

          Do you think older people ought to stop living their life because we are at war.....again? Remember, the folks we are talking about have experienced several wars. Why do you think they should feel guilt?
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          Apr 26 2014: Carolyn. I've met very many people you're describing - I guess, the reson is that even when we are younger we have a great tendency to follow some stereotype, and this psychology does not change very often with age.. It is very rare when we meet a wise old person - more often we might see some kind and compassionate individuals.. but I guess it is the law of nature - we imitate the majority.
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          Apr 26 2014: I don't perceive you as a jerk Carolyn, and if it serves you in some way to call yourself that....so be it.

          I observe that some young people and some older people are genuinely concerned about life and our world, whereas some young and older people are not concerned.

          I have always been very interested in exploring all aspects of the life adventure.....that was true as a young person, and it is true as an older person. The people I have connected with throughout my life have the same or similar desire to genuinely explore life. I don't think people generally stop exploring because of age. The people who are not exploring, probably never did....make any sense?
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        Apr 26 2014: Thank you, Colleen, I think the people we meet depend on where we spend our time. One may see different elderly people at the beauty shop than in the Planning Commission meeting or at the free lectures at the art museum or university. What I have found is that elderly people sometimes make different choices of projects than younger people do, often based on health and energy but also special interests. At a recent all city forum here hosted by the mayor for people involved in neighborhood activism, at least half were over fifty years old, I believe. Bicycle advocacy draws a younger set of activists, while social justice activism draws people across the age spectrum. Here volunteer work crews doing landscaping and street work tend to be younger, probably because of knees. School/tutoring volunteers who are not parents tend to be older. I notice that the Saturday forums of the local center for Asian Art and Ideas can have as many as fifty elderly people waiting outside for the doors to open and few without gray hair.

        i remember the person I respected most in my life, a career social worker and intellectual, lamenting at a certain point that her reduced mobility meant she needed to send checks to causes she cared about rather than to participate in things like get-out-the-vote campaigns. She lamented too at a certain point that when she read an article or book, by the time she got to the end of the page she had forgotten what she read at the beginning.

        I have known others who have burned themselves out in forty years of pushing for a cause or several and decide to leave the biggest fights for the young and to work on a smaller level in old age.

        The notion of waiting to judge until one has "walked a mile in their shoes" comes to mind. It is sad and common (and not very compassionate) to dismiss great groups of people with broad strokes. I know you know many older people, so you have seen those shoes first hand.:)
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          Apr 28 2014: Carolyn,
          To me, fifty is very young:>)

          Fritzie,
          I agree..."I think the people we meet depend on where we spend our time. One may see different elderly people at the beauty shop than in the Planning Commission meeting or at the free lectures at the art museum or university. What I have found is that elderly people sometimes make different choices of projects..." Yes....absolutely!

          Funny you mention the Planning Commission, because we often talk about the average age of planning commission members and try to recruit younger members! Most of the members (two representatives from each regional community....40+ members) are retired and have served on the commission for many years (I've been there for about 10-15 years, and that is common). The thing is, that younger people have jobs, young families, etc., and do not have the time, just as I did not have the time when I was younger. So, it is a great "nitch" for us old folks. We have experiences and time to contribute.

          You also mention bicycle advocacy, which you say draws a younger set of activists. Perhaps it depends on the area one is in, and around here, many of the older bicyclists are active because they have time to do it. The group I bike with (mostly retired engineers) are very active when it comes to addressing bike paths, park and rides, etc. They attend legislative sessions, write letters, etc. We have one guy who is VERY active with support of biking. He has biked across the country a couple times when he was younger, and now only does short trips....50-60 miles a day!!! I'm not exactly sure of his age...75+...

          Most of the mentors and court appointed child or elderly advocates in this area are older....they have the time! One woman I know (she must be close to 90) is a retired court clerk, and now she volunteers as a guardian/representative for kids in state custody, and/or involved in the court system.

          There are SO many possibilities and opportunities!
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        Apr 28 2014: You are right. In an urban area where many commute to work by bike and where there is lots of traffic, there are fewer elderly bicyclists as a proportion of total traffic on the streets than in rural areas and villages.

        I agree that fifty is not old. Most of the over fifties at the meeting I attended were seniors.
    • Apr 25 2014: Carolyn:

      I find it hard to believe that you have "many elderly friends" when you have such a negative general view of them. "Some are able to understand nutrition." Maybe, unlike you, apparently, they choose not to jump aboard every nutritional fad that comes down the highway, only to see it reversed a decade later. Maybe their "racism" is simply because they grew up in an environment with fewer immigrants and so just happen to know fewer people with skin color different from theirs. Maybe they choose not to make "energy efficient changes" because they have read enough to know the world has literally hundreds of years worth of fossil fuels left. Maybe they travel south in winter because they have the time and the money to do so and they like to play golf. Maybe they "exploit health care to the fullest" because their knees and elbows wore down while they were working their butts off to pay for your education.

      Sorry to pull rank on you, Carolyn, but every generation since the beginning of history has been convinced that they, finally, are going to be the ones to solve all the world's social inequities. I sure felt that way. But now, having paid my dues and done the best I could, I am happy to "read and travel and enjoy life".

      As Colleen says, maybe you should try connecting with a different group of old farts. There are plenty of us who don't fit your depressing sterotype.
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      Apr 25 2014: Too many walk around with rose color classes on, it is nice to hear views from someone that see things as they really are. Most elderly worked hard their whole life and played by the rules, (which were different than today’s rules) and just want desire the life they were told they would have.
      We are the ones failing them, they should not have to worry about being conned out of their life savings, and how they can pay for meds, food, taxes, and heating their home.

      What have we done to help them to stay mentally or physically active and play any role in today’s society?
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      Apr 28 2014: Carolyn, It appears that your experience with seniors has either been negative or painful in some way. Is there any particular reason why you feel that they need to update what they think and do? If they are comfortable and find a reason to get up, dressed and out the door, does it really matter if they are aware of the latest technology? The fact is that many are. My mother got her iphone at the age of 71, while I still don't see a need for one. So, its all about personal desires. I enjoy the "old fashioned" way of doing many things in my life, while quicker and easier options may be available. (like washing my dishes by hand)

      If you want to change your viewpoint on this subject, I would suggest that you take a cruise. You will see that the ones having the most fun also have the most gray hair.
  • Apr 24 2014: Hi Charlie
    I'm old enough to remember a chap named Adolph who thought along similar lines. Love is a much stronger emotion than all the emotions put together. I know you are not compromising with A H. but it is this kind of attitude that grows once the seeds have been sown. Let me give you a happier thought-it isn't the survival of the fittest that will flourish; it is the most intelligent. This rules out nobody and rules in everybody and that is how it should stay!
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    Apr 23 2014: I firmly believe that the elderly can have greater roles in society than they currently do. Mentorship for all kinds of businesses, wisdom of experience, teaching history of trades, service and volunteering, etc.

    The mechanisms for these things don't readily exist although there a lots of volunteer opportunities.

    And I think the way things happen in the US is spreading worldwide as well. Nursing homes (or long term care facilities) are proliferating in most countries.

    I don't have a lot of answers but I have benefitted greatly from mentors, usually the older the better!
    • Apr 25 2014: Old men still run everything. Just scratch the surface.
  • Apr 29 2014: what does you mean:play an important role?Lol,if everyone shares a little love in this world,the world would be full of love,just a little,not big,not all...if just one devotes all of love,the world wouldn't have any change:).
  • Apr 28 2014: Hey, given current US policies and mismanagement of Social Security, this will become a non-issue. There will be no more retirement, just work until we die.
  • Apr 26 2014: One of the easiest ways to take advantage of this vast resource is through time banking. It also solves a lot of other problems as well with very little downside.
  • Apr 26 2014: Yes, there is a place for the elderly.

    It involves transferring the knowledge needed for survival to the following generations. The trick for the elderly is to find a way to do this that is effective and timely, but not do it so frequently that they become irrelevant. It is a difficult balance when you are at your peak mentally and physically, and increasingly more difficult in your declining years.

    The challenge for future generations is to extract as much of this wisdom as you can to prevent repeating the same mistakes and enabling you to take advantage of lessons learned. This challenge involves spending time with your elders, being patient with them as they try to continue to help you learn to survive, and...here is the biggy...listening to what they have to say.

    Like all other information you see or hear, the information you get from your elders will be good or bad, but usually it is pretty good. One key difference between it and the rest of the information is that it is usually intended to help you survive and make your life better in some way.

    Watching your elders also gives you some insight into your own life that you can get from no other source.
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    Apr 26 2014: ABSOLUTELY GREAT TOPIC!!

    WHEN WE GET OLDER WE STILL NEED TO BE ACTIVELY, MENTALLY AND EVEN PHYSICALLY INVOLVED IN REAL LIFE. WE NEED TO SEE THE GOOD RESULTS OF OUR INVOLVEMENT. Some work mental or physical/manual requires patience and time we do not have when we are younger.

    It takes a lot of time to build a valuable muiscal instrument, restore an old painting, or for instance, we need patience and knowledge to collect important information regadring some sound research, help with editing, teach special subjects, take care of animals...

    I was in my early twenties when I designed this project for a futuristic "academy" where elderly people could do fantastic, unusual jobs creating unique production that requiers time and special skills, and most importantly they would work on reviving and keeping up with precious old traditions, especially those which are "endangered species".
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      Apr 25 2014: Carolyn,
      In your other comment, you mentioned your "many elderly friends" who are not very productive. In the comment above, you speak of your clients, who don't seem to be very productive....in your judgment anyway.

      I totally agree with your insightful statement...." If you fail to adapt and be willing to grow...how can you be a role model."
  • Apr 25 2014: Youth dominate nothing. They make a lot of noise, but look at who is really running things: Old men, like always.
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    Apr 25 2014: Charlie, Flordia has a fair share of the "elderly". Perhaps I am wrong but I read more into your question than appears in print. You have made statements about your generation and ours (I'm 70).

    Your statement "In a society where everything new and young is valued, is there a place for our elderly? If not, should we attempt to create a place for them? Could the elderly ever become a largely influential part of our society? Are you concerned that parents, grand parents, loved ones will become a apart of this pattern?

    So the question is "HOW" do we go about making them a meaningful and productive part of society? It starts with consideration, respect, and honesty. I will use me as a example. I was a pretty good athlete ... so now I coach, ref, etc .... I am slower and more methodical than as a youth .. that helps me in my position as Search and Rescue ... In law enforcement I no longer go physical but am adept as a trainer ... etc ..

    Maybe a match center where they say what they want and you look for a match ... light cleaning ... cooking ... house keeping ... editing ... house setting for vacationers ... sub teaching ... etc you get the idea.

    Seniors can work but are restricted in how much they can make before it impacts their social security.

    If I have misunderstood you please tell me and we will try again.

    I wish you well Charlie ... Bob.
  • Apr 25 2014: Hi Charlie
    I was not comparing you to Hitler and was only referring to the premise projected by your question. I don't think for one minute that was your intention. Forgive me if it seemed that way. Going back to Hitler, a good lesson can be learned. He thought by getting rid of what he thought were inferior beings he would conquer all, but in his deluded view of things he got rid of all the superior minds that would have helped him in his twisted idea of world domination. No man is an Island-we are all equal. I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but the question you ask should be directed to yourself. Think about it again.
  • Apr 25 2014: Hi Charlie
    You are entitled to your views and airing them over the net is a constructive way to go. I mention in my letter that it will be the most intelligent that will flourish, Stephen Hawkins is about the best example of this. He is seriously disabled. but in his mind he rules the roost. In our miserable existence he shines like a beacon showing that no matter how old and how physically obstructed one is, their contribution is paramount. I would also add that physical restrictions also affect millions of younger people through accidents and illness and the same circumstances apply.
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      Apr 25 2014: That is very true- about young people. So who should this question be directed at? My generalization of the elderly community is not sitting well with anyone. One even compared me to Hitler.
  • Apr 25 2014: Charlie

    As some have wisely said here that age is not synonymous with wisdom and at 70+ years, I can attest to that. That being true; what than of youth, is there less chance of wisdom? When the youth do achieve this wisdom will the young listen?
    I am of the opinion that if a person, young or old, is to have a place it must be he who decides that place and he who must be strong enough to keep that place, if it is to be of value to him or anyone else.
    For the many who are in nursing homes let them rest.
    To your, "In a society---" There is nothing new here. You are not the first, nor will you be the last to understand this passing of generations.
    The elderly were an influential part of yesterdays society and all things must pass, as you will either die or become old and then die.The world that you now live in was greatly shaped by my generation. I take no pride in that. Take care that your generation can do a better job.
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    Apr 24 2014: They could, but considering the current elderly are the baby-boomers, and going by past behavior I foresee more harm to society then good coming from them.
    The post boomer generations I can see doing great thinks, like using crowd-sourcing to transcribe every historical document in the world.
    • Apr 24 2014: Good to see there are no sweeping generalizations here on TED Conversations...
  • Apr 23 2014: As the global human population grows the average human being becomes older and wiser. We have the internet to acquire knowledge from now but more and more of that knowledge will originate from the old and wise.