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How to Treat the Elderly

The elderly make a valuable contribution to society and as such they deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

As a child, I used to look to the elderly as really wise people who knew so much about the world. They were the ones who could be relied upon to provide a history lesson of what life used to be like in “their day”. But things have changed so much in just a very short space of time. We are now more likely to hear of elder abuse within the family, residential home or a mugging that took place, involving an elderly victim. It is sad to see the elderly being abused and disregarded so much in a society that they once contributed so much to. This article will offer some suggestions on ways in which you should treat the elderly.

Give them a call

Many elderly people do not hear from people as much as they used to in their youth. Just a brief phone call to see how they are getting along can really lift their day and make them feel valued. If you live far away from grandparents, this may be the best option. It can also help alert you to any problems if you make the effort to call.

Visit the elderly

Do you have grandparents or know of any other elderly people who might appreciate a visit? Then take the initiative and pay them a visit. Many elderly people are housebound due to illness or immobility, so they might not be able to get out and about as much as they would like. You will be surprised to see the joy on their faces as they welcome you into their home, just because you have made the effort to visit. Even if you can only spare a few minutes of your time, try to visit and let them know you are thinking of them. Growing older does not take away a person’s need to socialize and have a friendly chat. The need for companionship actually seems to increase, rather than lessen, with age. Elderly people often admit that they are very lonely, especially if they are widowed and are living on their own. Just imagine spending year after year alone with hardly any visitors. It’s a dreadful thought.

Treat the elderly with respect

Do not assume that a person who is elderly has lost all their faculties and needs to be treated as a child. They have lived a lot longer than the younger generation and they deserve our utmost respect. Even if you do not know of anyone elderly within your own family, treat elderly people who are strangers with respect. You can do this by holding the door open for them to enter a shop before you and giving up your seat to them if they need it on the bus or train. A younger person tends to be fitter and stronger, whereas elderly people are more likely to have health problems and will need to rest more. This is a simple, but courteous act, that will be appreciated.

Take them out

An elderly person may not have the use of a car any longer if their eyesight has deteriorated or because of some other reason. So think about practical ways that you can help them, such as taking them shopping. If they are unable to go with you, ask them to make a shopping list and shop for them. Also, consider doctor’s visits. Many elderly people need to visit the doctor more so than when they were younger. They will need help to go to the doctor’s and then to pick up their prescription afterwards.

These are all practical ways that you can help someone who is elderly. They may seem like insignificant acts, but to a person who is old and frail, this can be seen as great acts of kindness. Elderly people are not useless. They still serve a useful purpose in society and do much to enhance your own life as well. I have benefited a great deal from the advice and friendship of elderly people, even though I am in my 20s. I have found many of them to be kind, warm and loving people.

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