As parents or elderly family members age, it may seem like there’s been a role reversal – the people who kept you away from danger as a kid and guided you through life may suddenly be the ones in need of care.
While in dire cases you might feel like you’re the adult taking care of a child, treating or talking to seniors like children is never the answer. Research from AARP shows the negative impact of “elderspeak,” or speaking differently to seniors such as talking in a louder voice or dumbing down sentences (think baby talk but for the elderly), finding that talking to adults like kids is both unhelpful and hurtful.
Here are four important reasons you should always follow that adage of treating people the way you’d want to be treated, especially when it comes to elders.
Parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents provide the ultimate look into yourself
Want to find out more about your past and where you come from? While there are a variety of DNA test services these days, if you’re looking for a direct source, there’s nothing more first-person than your family. If you’ve ever wished you could talk to your ancestors, remember to live in the moments you with parents, grandparents, and other relatives.
In terms of life experience, elders have it all
Aside from family giving you a link to your past, seniors of all ages have more life experience than you. Remember that today’s senior population is made up of people who have seen it all, from world wars to the Depression as well as amazing technological breakthroughs. There’s a reason why seniors and centenarians are popular interview subjects for books like “30 Lessons for Living” or news stories like “10 Life Lessons You Can Learn From the Smartest Older People.” – seniors have a wealth of life experience and advice to give.
Elders in many cultures are regarded with the utmost respect
Treating elders with respect and care is a fundamental part of many world cultures. While aging is often viewed as a negative process in Western culture (as anyone who’s ever seen an anti-wrinkle cream commercial can attest), it’s quite the opposite in other areas. In the Mediterranean, the word for “old man” is a term of respect and endearment instead of an insult and in many parts of Asia, sending parents or elders away to age in a nursing home is almost unheard of.
In some countries, not visiting elderly family could land you in legal trouble
On that note, seniors are so respected that in some parts of the world there are actual laws regarding things like taking care of elderly family members. In China, where respect for family is already ingrained into culture and upbringing, there’s also an Elderly Rights Law that aims to really drive home the fact that the elderly should never be neglected. The law mandates that adult children visit their parents often, no matter how far away they live, and failing to do so is even punishable with jail time.
One of the best ways to show your elders respect is to ensure they’re well cared for. Look for a senior care provider like Vistelan Healthcare that puts seniors’ independence, safety and happiness first.
Vistelan Healthcare is a licensed, bonded and insured private senior care company in Charleston. Their executive team has more than 50 years of health care experience. Whether you’re looking for in-home companionship, daily personal assistance, or 24-hour care, the staff at Vistelan Healthcare provides unparalleled service.
To learn more about the private senior care they offer, call 843-771-0292 or visit vistelan.com.