|Photo by Born1945|
We have a few stereotypes about the relationship between older adults and the younger generations. Witness the worn-out image of the boy scout, aiding a mature woman as she crosses the street. Remember Russell in the Pixar 2009 film Up? He first met the widower Carl by asking him, “Are you in need any assistance?”
Yes, the younger generations should provide support for the oldest adults in our communities. However, they should do so in a way that recognizes existing capabilities and preserves independence. Over time, Russell and Carl develop a mutually benefitting relationship because they help each other and respect each others' strengths.
Most older adults don’t fight evil geniuses in South American jungles, but they do have a variety of skills and abilities. These strengths and their hard-won wisdom allow them to meet their own needs and to contribute to the broader society. What they most often need from others is just patience, an open mind, and maybe a few resources.