In many cultures, there is an emphasis on the elderly. They are given leadership roles and admired with overflowing respect. These acts are often seen in Asian and Latino communities. The family unit is vital to their culture. However, it seems as if in The United States, our senior citizens are given the backseat. This is unacceptable, given that there are 47.8 million Americans aged 65 and older. They are not as appreciated and sometimes feel as if they are a burden to their children and grandchildren. They do not get to see their families as often as they would like. Some are even moved to a retirement home where they are abandoned.
There is a great lack of respect for our senior citizens. The elderly have lived long lives and experienced so much. Many of today’s senior citizens have lived through a World War, segregation and the Cold War. Each life-altering experience has molded their perception of the world. These exposures have caused them to have an abundance of wisdom. They have learned so much in their lifetime. The younger generation should not hesitate to speak with them. There is so much we can learn through their stories.
As happy as they would be to talk with younger people, often they feel as if they are dead weight on us. Many of us get so caught up in our own lives that we forget to check in on those who have supported us from the start. Many of our grandparents have nurtured us since we were babies, and now that we are grown with adult responsibilities, we feel as if we simply do not have the free time to give them a call. It is simple. Check in every now and then to see how they are doing. They would love to hear your voice and tell you what they have been up to. Many seniors live alone with no one to interact with. Just fifteen short minutes on the phone could turn their day around.
Even if one does not have a grandparent or elderly family member in their life, there is still a way to get involved. Many cities have organizations where one gets matched to a senior citizen. You visit them at their place of residence, get groceries for them, take them out to lunch and just spend time with them. This program is similar to Big Brother Big Sisters of America. The importance of this program is that the seniors are in contact with others. Humans are a social species. Doing this once or twice a week is an enriching experience for both parties.
Which brings me to another point. Listening to senior citizens discuss their younger days give millenials a glimpse into history. It is good to acknowledge the differences in the societies of the past and present. They have revolved more times around the sun than we have, so they are bound to have numerous memories worth sharing. In return, we could take in their stories and learn a great deal from them.
There is no reason why America’s senior citizens should feel this way. They have contributed so much to the economy and culture. They have raised generations and spread their beliefs to them. And the best we can do to show our appreciation is offer them an early bird special? Millennials are often deemed an “entitled” generation. One should not expect their elders to gift them with items simply because they share DNA. Instead, put in the effort to show you genuinely care for their well-being.
Our senior citizens have endured all of life’s challenges. They have a plethora of knowledge to pass down to the younger generations. The issue is that today’s youth are so caught up in their own lives that they unknowingly neglect the elderly. The elderly is the reason that we are here today. They should be loved and appreciated. Everyone deserves to feel wanted, regardless of their age.