Wednesday, August 02, 2006

As we age, do we become less important?

This Topic was requested by a fellow blogger (aged?). She has asked to remain annonymous...

Simone de Beauvoir a French Existentialist, Writer, and Social Essayist (1908-1986) wrote that the situation of the aged was a scandal (in France) and calls attention to the fact that the elderly, with some exceptions, usually don’t "do" what society considers useful. The Elderly have to be defined by their existence, their "being" and not by their praxis. There are a number of articles written argueing the importance of the elderly in our society. has a page "The Myths of Ageing" and the 6th myth is "That older people are useless, that they have nothing to offer society..." . This brings to mind the phrase "Past the age of usefullness..."

Is there an implied social contract lacking pragmatic validity?

Fat Bastard's Position

At first the logical or intellectual answer to this question is that there is an equal inherent value for all living organisms. But one look at the Rest homes in the US, shows that this is not the case. Our "homes for the aged" are filled with the lost and forgotten people of our past. These "homes" are little more than a staging area for people waiting to die. The population of the Aged are growing in both The US and Canada and will double in the next 20 years. By mid-century, the elderly will out-number young people for the first time in history. As our society ages, ideas of the value and importance of each age group will change too.

I find it ironic that the people in our society that have the most to offer, are relied upon the least. Is it our infatuation with youth and health? Is it as de Beauvoir claims that "..for most young people, old age inspires a biological repugnance"? It may be a psychological form of self-defense. If we are young and strong, we may not accept a future of when we will be old and weak. Our rejection of our own fate reflects on our way of treating the aged people we come into contact with. "The simple fact that people are argueing the usefullness of the aged, shows that there is a general conception of uselessness out there."

When researching the Infanticide post, I ran accross an atticle titled "We must admit that all persons are equal from conception to death " and I remember thinking that in theory this is true, but not in actuality. As we age, it seems we have less value to society. If this was not so, why do so many elderly claim to feel useless? It is a part of our life cycle. The elderly yeild to youth and in doing so accept their part in this cycle. I do not say this is correct, but it is the cycle. There are Ad campaigns declaring the "Children are our future" and this sums it up quite well. The Elderly are our Past!

The upside to this Ageing delemma is the that the definition for "elderly" is changing. In the last century, the life expectancy has increased by nearly 3 decades. There was a time when 50 was considered "way old" and now 50 is considered "mid-life". I feel the usefulnees of the elderly will also be re-defined the day the elderly outnumber the

Please read and answer the poll at the bottom of the page so we can know how you feel about this question.

The Beatitudes of the Aged by Ester Mary Walker:
Blessed be those who understand my slow steps and my shaking hands.
Blessed are those who notice that my ears have to strain to hear what they are saying.
Blessed be those who perceive that my eyes are clouded and my reactions are slow.Blessed are those who look the other way when I dribble at the table.
Blessed be those who please me with a smile, giving me time to talk about things of no importance.
Blessed are those who never say: "You’ve told me that a thousand times!"
Blessed be those who know how to talk about what happened in the past.
Blessed are those who make me feel that I’m loved and not abandoned.
Blessed be those who understand how hard it is for me to carry my cross.
Blessed are those who help me make that last journey to the Promised Land, treating me with love and tender care.

A Grandmother’s Prayer: God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference. Amen.