Growing up in Mexico, I saw older people enjoying their advancing years. Old age was a time to slow down, share experiences, and volunteer. It was only years later when I was living in the US that I realized that there is a lot of stigma around aging, making it unsurprising that so many people worry about getting older.
I have personally seen the disconnection and loneliness suffered by many older citizens today. One experience touched me very deeply. I visited a nursing home where I met a lady who, in tears, told me that she received very few visits. For the first time, I was confronted with a reality I had previously avoided. Many elderly people no longer see their family and friends and this leaves them isolated. Also, older people feel excluded from the society they used to belong to and it is heart-breaking to see so many of them look what can only be described as half alive. We need each other more than ever and our disconnection from older generations is hurting us. Today, we have developed great technology and achieved wonderful medical advancements to take care of our elders’ physical health, yet the most important and most often ignored aspect of their wellbeing is the care of their emotional health. The elderly crave connection and closeness. They are present and they want to share their stories and be heard.
We are all going to get older one day, so wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all look forward to joyfully sharing the waning years of life?
I have always felt connected to older generations because my father was 54 years old when I was born also I had a very close relationship with my grandmother who taught me valuable lessons about hard work and how to cope with life’s struggles. They both lived through many difficulties which endowed them with wisdom and insight as to what life is really all about. Through my love of listening to their stories, I learned to appreciate that what older people say is valuable. Thanks to each of the seniors I have met, I have gained deeper insight into myself and the world around me. The power of their stories does not change with time. Older people live in the present and no matter what their background, they have witnessed and lived enough to share a good story, one that we will undoubtedly learn something from. This is why I have always seen the growing olders as the true carriers of wisdom.
Our Seniors are a valuable resource who enrich our communities. They are a large part of the evolution of our societies and we not only need them to achieve meaningful social interaction but also to uphold the values on which our culture is founded. The exchange of knowledge between the young and the old is vital and helps to recapture what we have lost, I am sending an intimate and direct invite to discover the beauty of the later years of life. I strongly believe that strengthening the bond between young and old will help a positive cultural shift toward feelings of respect and admiration for one another.
Getting old is not an end but a beginning of a new, beautiful stage of life that can leave those who live it with a better understanding of life’s bounty. Our elders have so much to share and we need to listen to them for continuing life lessons. Hopefully, we all of us connect with each other and reintroduce the appreciation, love, and inclusion our older and all of us need.