Opinion: Older generations not treated as fairly



Cassandra Adams

In China, and many East Asian cultures, “filial piety” is a term used to describe the way children take care of their elders. This is done as a way to give back for the upbringing of children along with traditional Confucianism beliefs to treat them with respect and obedience. In America; however, we too often shove them into retirement facilities and convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing.

Is this a cop out? Is our generation just so selfish, that once our parents, grandparents, spouses or family members have reached a certain age we hand over our credit cards to these facilities? We barely visit them and leave others to care for them.

Older people who are still capable of working face much age discrimination in the job market, and management does not help the situation. Less qualified, less reliable and less intelligent people are getting higher positions and automatic wage increases because of a younger age on their identification card.

Studies and psychologists have fought to rebuke the stereotype that older people do not have the capacity to expand, keep knowledge and learn knew things. These studies have been done hoping to reverse some of this prejudice but without any significant improvements.

The elderly, who are unable to work and receive social security on fixed income, haven’t gotten a raise in social security for two years. The general cost of living such as the price of gas, food and health care have steadily increased, leaving these circumstances less than desirable to say the least.

Along with these economic battles, the general overall mental health of the elderly isn’t great. Loneliness is cited for 15 to 25 percent of the elderly population, which shows that many rarely leave the house during the day and have little contact with their family members. Basically, it seems we are sending a blatant message to a growing number of older persons: We don’t need you or your contribution to work, family life or relationships.

We seem to throw out the elderly and their contributions so easily. Instead of offering a hand, ear or company, we seem so eager to rush into our daily lives blindly racing to some imaginary competition where time is money.

Not only does this hurt them, but it hurts us too. We are side swiping valuable stories, information, knowledge and wisdom and some genuinely amazing and interesting people by allowing egos to come between us and the essential thread of any society, which is humanity.

In short, not to sound like a martyr, but if you have a grandparent or maybe an older neighbor take them up on an offer you may haven’t normally or extend a hand, you may be surprised at what you find.

Cassandra Adams is a junior newspaper journalism and English major, and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. You can contact her at [email protected]