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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 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..

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