Oftentimes, we discriminate against the elderly without even noticing and they do the same to the young. How can we become aware of the differences between young and old so to mend them? Listen to the elderly now so that when we are old the youth will listen to us.
“Old people” are still people.
The youth have their own ageist views towards the elderly and often take them as fools for how they vote and when they mistakenly say racist things. If the youth act in anger against their actions and assume all the elderly are stupid… Well, only a stupid person would say an entire group of people are stupid.
William von Hippel a Professor of Psychology at the University of Queensland, Australia, researches how the brain ages in a BBC Article. His findings claim that as people age the frontal lobes of the brain deteriorate making it harder to suppress irrelevant or inappropriate thoughts.
So, elderly people who hadn’t ever been prejudiced begin to show prejudice when they age. This seems to be a contributing factor for their voting habits. In the USA, the majority of the elderly voted for Donald Trump and in the UK the majority of the elderly voted to leave the EU.
To think that one day the thoughts we think will not have the filter they do know is hard to understand. It is a scary idea for the youth and a difficult reality for the elderly. It is important as a healthy young adult to remember not to be ageist.
Elderly people cannot help the changes their brains are going through and we can help them by listening to their problems and trying to find the stories from their past that show they still have love and not only fear.
A good practice is to imagine yourself on your deathbed looking back at your life. Think about the difficulties of not being able to move because of the weakness in your arms and legs, how hard it would be to forget the faces of your own children, or not being able to eat for yourself.
If we look at this future we become scared because someday it will be the truth. But today we are healthy. Rejoice in that fact and become rejuvenated.
Instead of trying to avoid the unavoidable by remaining young forever. It is best for us still with our youth to utilise it. A wise saying goes “if you have your health you have everything.” It is difficult to know how true this is until we begin to lose our bodies and minds.
So, what now? Listen to the stories of love from the elderly. Go now with health and vigour to create stories of love and tell them to the youth when you get too frail to make any more.