It is a fact that the average population is aging. However, if you note the media debate regarding our senior citizens, you might think it’s all doom and gloom. For instance, read articles covering this subject matter or watch a new report piece, and you’ll notice much of the reporting has some negative connotation.
Many reporters or individuals contributing to the public debate regarding aging choose to focus on the negatives. A common theme they cover is the burden of the aging population to families and society at large. However, I choose to think of aging in a more positive light. For the first time in the history of humankind, we have a sizeable chunk of our population as senior citizens.
Consequently, we stand to gain enormously from the presence and contribution of our elderly, far more than was possible at any other time in our history.
Why Seniors And The Elderly Are Important To Our Daily Lives As Individuals
Traditionally, the role of the grandparents was to guide the generations behind them. Not only were the elderly authorities figures in the family, but they were also the custodians of wealth, skills, and knowledge. While the role of our seniors in society has changed, our parents and grandparents play an important role in our daily lives
No matter their walk in life, every senior has experience and skills they can pass on to the younger generation. In the past, when economies were mainly agrarian, the old used to work with the young on the farms, during which the elderly imparted their knowledge to the younger generation. However, as we shifted to a market economy, the young are now less reliant on their parents’ or grandparents’ land and resources to earn a living.
However, grandparents still impart knowledge and skills to the younger generation in everyday interactions. For instance, as they babysit their grandchildren, the interactions impart invaluable knowledge to the young ones.
Another good example is parenting. Parenting is an enormously challenging undertaking. There is no manual that will give you all the answers you need to bring up your children. Keep in mind that every child is different and will have some unique needs.
Plus, with changing times comes new challenges. Having elderly parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunties can guide you through the process of parenting.
Our Seniors Help With Chores At Home
Seniors contribute to the smooth running of families by doing some chores in and around their homes. Whether running errands, providing transportation to the grandchildren, or cleaning the yard for their home-bound neighbor, they help a lot in our families and neighborhood. Think about it; how many weekends would you have spent bored at home if your grandparents were not available to take you out.
They Are Caregivers
At first glance, it might not seem like it, but in reality, our seniors are caregivers. From babysitting their grandchildren as their children work to providing care to their frail spouses, our seniors take on responsibilities that would otherwise necessitate expensive professional help.
Have your grandparents taken care of you when you were sick and while your parents were at work? Does not grandfather or grandmother do the groceries for his or her spouse, take him or her to the doctor’s visit, or simply does the errands and groceries? All of this constitutes caregiving.
Offer A Different Point Of View
With their vast experiences and understanding, our beloved elderly are in a position to give us an intricate – and experienced – understanding of ideas. Whether you need help in investing, relationship advice, parenting, or even career advice, you can trust your seniors to help you understand things from a new perspective.
The Benefits To Society Of Having Seniors And The Elderly As Functioning Members
The presence and contribution of the elderly in our families are enormous and invaluable. The same extends to the wider society. Seniors in society play an important role, which many of us do not take note of.
Our Seniors Contribute Financially To The Economy At A Local And Macro Level
According to the research finding by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the AARP, the population demographic of people 50 years and above contribute about 40% of the U.S. economy. Additionally, they’re about 88.6 million workers aged 50 years and above, contributing $5.7 trillion in salaries and wages in the U.S.
The ILC estimates that senior citizens 50 years and older contribute 2.5 trillion dollars per year to the economy. Furthermore, seniors contribute to the economy in a lot of different ways. For instance, they take care of their grandchildren, providing a safe environment for the kids and allowing their parents to go to work and earn an income.
As you can appreciate, this is a huge contribution to the overall economy.
They Give Their Time Freely
A sizeable chunk of volunteers consists of seniors. For the most part, seniors tend to be more generous with their time and money. You’ll find them engaged in activities that better society, something the younger generation is typically unable or unwilling to undertake due to being busy. Seniors make more charitable donations per capita than age groups.
They Offer Wealth Of Experience And Knowledge In Our Workplaces
Businesses worldwide are increasingly acknowledging the importance of having seniors within their ranks or, at the very least, as part of their consultants. Having lived through the evolution and sometimes revolution in their industry, seniors have a historical perspective that the younger workforce does not have. Our seniors can help us understand the evolution of ideas, methods, technologies, and even understanding, all of which will help inform decisions companies make.
Quick Tips And Examples Of How To Help And Encourage Older Adults To Participate In The World Around Them More
One of the best tips you can implement today is to do away with barriers that prohibit our seniors from being active participants in our daily lives. This might be as simple as helping your elderly loved one improve their health to scheduling time for your kids to spend with their grandparents. Removing barriers might involve retaining the elderly as consultants rather than letting them retire completely.
Being supportive and offering encouragement to our seniors will also improve their likelihood to be active members of society. Being supportive is akin to being a facilitator to our seniors in their pursuit of being active members of society both in our families and in the wider society.
Importantly, we as families and the wider society should seek to engage our seniors in as many ways as possible. Are you a parent in need of parenting advice? Is your business looking for ways to improve efficiency? Why not engage our seniors who have senior and done it all. They surely must know something we do not know!
Age discrimination has been a huge problem over the years. Parts of society think of the elderly as contributing little to society. In reality, our society would crumble if our seniors stopped contributing to our society.
On the other hand, if we encourage seniors to continue contributing to our society, we stand to gain a lot culturally and financially. For instance, if companies retained seniors in the workforce rather than pushing them out, the U.S. economy would gain about $850 billion more per year.
As a parting shot, let’s encourage our seniors to continue playing active roles in our lives and society to better us all.