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Old 12-19-2016, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by yourown2feet View Post

I do have a number of relatives in that age range, and I have to say that it wouldn't occur to me to consult them for wise counsel. Some are demented. The ones who aren't, seem to have stopped expanding their knowledge since around the time their oldest kids left home.

Sadly, there are 5 million older Americans with Alzheimers or some other form of serious dementia. There are way more with serious but lesser losses due to aging.

You also point out another serious issue. Many people stopped learning. You say that often happens when their kids leave home. I would say for a great many people education, learning and personal growth were never of much interest. That is more likely to be true for older people who were raised when life was in many ways much simpler. Fewer were college educated, fewer had jobs requiring lots of knowledge and skills. Those age 80 or beyond typically missed out on the information, computer and internet explosion.

For all of the reasons mentioned old people rarely have much to offer in the way of technical or specific information and thought. Surely they must be sources of help for more philosophic and life experience issues. Western philosophical thought really became significant at the time of the ancient Greeks. At least that is something we heard about in school. Few people actually seem to pay much attention to leading a life based on reason and philosophical thinking. Most adopt the norms of society and the beliefs they are taught by parents or in church. Very few people have much to teach others except to restate the beliefs of their society and religion.

I guess old people are indeed "lovable" and must know a lot about interpersonal relations. Those who are wisest seem to avoid the specifics and advise people to follow their own choices in life.

My conclusion is that the vast majority of old people don't have a lot to offer when it comes to wisdom, or counsel, or advice. Those lovable old folks really seem to love the grandkids or great grandkids. Kids do need encouragement and love. Unfortunately I think they need a lot more. Parents and grandparents should be examples for the younger generation. We should constantly push to learn, to experience, to reason and to understand and to achieve. Then at any age, we might indeed be able to offer some of our knowledge to others.
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Old 12-19-2016, 02:45 PM
Location: Southwest Washington State
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I happen to know an elderly woman to whom I would go for advice. I would not want to burden her with my personal problems, because she is a caregiver to her husband, but if I needed advice, I'd go to her.

I think she is amazing.
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Old 12-19-2016, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by matisse12 View Post
....I also could have discussed the lives of my parents more with my parents - their growing up years, teen years, young & older adulthood, etc - before they were gone. Although I do remember that some of my questions about their past were met with reluctance to discuss.
My parents did not discuss their personal lives directly with me very often at all, and my mother was not loathe to lie when she did in order to manipulate. But I was an only surviving child, so I was always taken everywhere on visits...and I sat there quietly and listened as they talked to their siblings - or their siblings talked about them, and I listened as they talked with their friends and cronies...and I looked at their old photo album. And not least of all, I listened when they talked about each other.

I grew up. And they freaked out when I reached my early twenties - they were gobsmacked in fact. The "nice kid" vanished, but who put this headstrong, iron-willed, self-destructive creature in his place? And I thought, I listened to you all my life, weren't you listening to yourselves at the same time?

I guess they had both tossed aside that old adage; "Little pitchers have big ears."

And it took another twenty years to purge much of that "wisdom" I had acquired by osmosis. But a certain amount of experiential wisdom was acquired in the process. I am seventy-nine now, and I have to say that the people who made the biggest impression on me in a positive way were all forty to fifty years older than myself when I knew them.
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Old 12-19-2016, 03:39 PM
Location: Albuquerque NM
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My elderly friend/aunt recently died at age 91. I did not actually consult with her much but I enjoyed talking to her. She was very sharp and could remember exact details from her childhood and beyond. I was interested in hearing about what it was like to live during the Great Depression and WWII and even the 1950's. I am also one of those odd persons who is interested in discussing the medical issues of the elderly and how they navigate the medical system. Occasionally she would make astute comments about interpersonal relationships between her adult children and their spouses or children - things I had not thought about but she was right on. Not sure if it was consulting but I vented to her about some issues in my relationships with family and she was very helpful.

I would not ask her financial advice in her 80's but I learned a lot from her and her husband in my younger years about personal finance and living below your means. They also loved to play scrabble and card games and read and were knowledgeable about certain topics such as civil war history, literature, ancient Egypt, and archaeology.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:09 PM
Location: Florida
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I was taught to respect my elders, but at age 82 I am running out of elders.
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Old 12-19-2016, 07:31 PM
Location: O Fallon, MO
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My father is the most brilliant man I've ever met. Starting at mid-to-late 70's, though, his mental faculties went down noticeably. And he never was good at relationship advice, still isn't. My mother's mind is also showing the effects of age. My husband's grandmother was very, very sharp but became less so in her mid 70's. Her dad was the same way. I would say that if someone is wise in their 70's they probably also were in their 40's and 50's.

I think the best thing that age teaches you is how to roll with the punches and that "this, too, shall pass." When you are 5 not getting a piece of candy at the grocery store is the end of the world. By 65 you have weathered enough and experienced enough that hopefully you take most things in stride. (All of this relative based on one's individual personality of course.) With many exceptions, it seems the height of wisdom, such as it is, occurs around 50-70 then eventually starts a slow decline.
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Old 12-19-2016, 07:31 PM
Location: Corona the I.E.
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Sometimes I do they have wisdom and it's appreciated when given.
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Old 12-19-2016, 09:21 PM
Location: Cow Town-SSP
15 posts, read 7,684 times
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The replies here are a perfect example of our societies view on the elderly.
When a person reaches a certain age they are believed to be of little value. That belief is instilled in our children. If you think about it we become what we believe we become, we are who we believe we are.
The elderly are often put in homes, they lack quality of life or intellectual stimulation. Often times children become strangers because they simply don't take the time.

The truth is people NEVER stop needing the "village'. A place to feel needed and be stimulated intellectually, to feel wanted and loved. There is no one with more wisdom than someone who has experienced it-especially those who have experienced pain-instead of throwing away our greatest asset we as a society need to embrace and nourish our wise elders as the native Americans and so many cultures in this world. Grandma shouldn't go in any home but yours!
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:10 PM
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My father was still pretty sharp till a couple of weeks before he died at age 95. I occasionally 'consulted' him but I think I learned a lot more from him from his example (and in retrospect) than I did through direct conversations of the overt 'consultation' type.

That said, I probably wasn't ready to hear what he had to say when I was young .. when I was middle aged, I may have been too busy to listen .. and when he was in his 90s, I was ready and not too busy, but I had already made most of the mistakes his advice might have prevented me from making. And now he is gone but I have also realized that a lot he said over the years (and I probably didn't even realize that I 'heard' at the time) was actually retained in some cubby somewhere in my brain to be unearthed perhaps decades later .. and, despite his being gone, I now hear his voice of wisdom inside my head quite often.

I keep hoping that someone .. preferably someone like my own daughter .. may also 'hear' me sometime down the line. She doesn't ask for advice but I like most parents do try to slip it to her occasionally when we feel our experience is relevant and 'needed'. So far though I see little to no indication that any of it has been 'received' much less processed or utilized. My own experience with my father though says never give up hope.
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:59 PM
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,779,038 times
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The replies in this thread so far tend to confirm my own view that people do not necessarily grow in wisdom as they age. Some do and some don't. More do not than do, in my experience.

I respect the elderly in the sense that I am courteous to them. And I am grateful to have known some, now long gone, with whom I really liked to talk.

At my age (72) I am now in a position occasionally to give advice and counsel to children and young people whom I encounter in my volunteer work in the schools. I try not to go too heavy on that, and hopefully it's mediated by life experience and some intelligence.
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