Editor, The Gazette:
A few weeks ago, I was in a local fast food restaurant where I witnessed something I wish I hadn’t.
While sitting there, I watched an elderly man (75+) walk up to the counter to place his order. He was quite slow in deciding what he wanted and paying for it.
There were two young men behind him (mid twenties), clearly put off by having to wait, shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. When the ordering was complete, the young men happened to sit a table away from me where I couldn’t help but hear the comments. “Those old &$%#@*% piss me off, they’re so #@&%*#*%# slow.”
It saddened me to hear that, and I wondered if they ever thought about who the elderly are.
They are the parents of all of us younger people. Without them, none of us would be here. They are people who have worked all their lives, experienced and endured a lot. Many of them have lost a great deal, a partner, a home, their health, their freedom to get around, and in some cases take care of themselves.
I work in a care home with the elderly, and I am reminded every day of how lucky I am to have my health and the ability to do simple things like dress and feed myself, not to mention the joyful things like dancing. Many of us take these abilities for granted until we no longer have them.
This brings me to the answer to “who are the elderly?“ We are all the elderly, in 40 years, 20 years, or five years, unless we pass away early for some reason. There is no escape from getting old, we will all be there some day.
Try to pause before being impatient with the elderly. They deserve to be respected and treated with kindness. Remember, they are all of us.