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Be Nice To Old People, People!

Be Nice To Old People, People!

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Places to go, people to see. Source: Ben Scicluna hide caption

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Source: Ben Scicluna

Admit it... There have been times when someone in the car ahead is driving with the left-turn indicator blinking, blinking, blinking, on a one-lane road, with no turns in sight... You've probably thrown a few choice words at the driver — aloud, or to yourself — and there's a decent chance that, when you've gotten a good look at that driver, he or she is a senior citizen. Or maybe you're in a hurry at the grocery store, just picking up items for dinner, and the elderly customer at the head of the line counts out his or her change a little too slowly for your schedule. Maybe you've just heard your own aged mother or father talking about things like love and sex, and you've gotten grossed out. Well, guess what? Hearing often fails with age, so maybe the driver just doesn't hear the "click-click," and isn't really just out to annoy you. And the customer counting change might have issues with his vision or dexterity, but again, he isn't just out to annoy you. I think you know what I'm going to say next... Old people care about sex and love too, and talking about them is normal... Not just a way of annoying younger folks. All this is to say we (myself included!) can be pretty intolerant of people in their golden years, and now there are classes spring chickens can take to try to physically understand what it's like to have the limited abilities that often come with old age. Hopefully, empathy follows understanding. Have you ever caught yourself short of patience with an old person? Do you try to fight those feelings? Has someone taught you that the elderly deserve empathy just like anyone else?

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