A Guide to Old Folks

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In the current discussion of health care, we seniors are often thought of as an endangered species requiring special care because our bodies and minds are on the fritz. Aging for many young people is analogous to that strange uncle who comes uninvited to a family gathering. And once he's there, he's given the same amount of attention devoted to an unappetizing bean dip.

So for those who wonder what aging is all about, I've developed what I call my Understanding Old Folk's Manual that contains 10 simple tidbits that are less complicated to understand than a VCR instruction book and I hope more useful.

1. Not knowing the latest Oscar nominees doesn't mean we're uninformed. Uninformed is not understanding why Korea was partitioned.

2. Moving slowly doesn't mean we've lost our marbles. Check out any book written by Stephen Hawking.

3. Though we forget names, we understand the complexities of living which those who are younger are still trying to learn.


4. We may not hear well, but we know how to listen and when to remain quiet.

5. We do get cranky -- physical pain and inevitability has that effect.

6. Don't treat us as children, no matter how much are bodies are failing.

7. Dependency doesn't involve ulterior motives -- we are more reluctant to ask for it than people are willing to give it.

8. We've made important decisions throughout our entire lives -- allow us the dignity of continuing to do it.

9. Our knowledge is derived from books -- our wisdom from living.

10. Our attitudes and behaviors are the product of our history. So when we say or do something you don't understand, don't dismiss it out of hand. Cut us some slack.

After all, dudes, we're old.

With a Perspective, I'm Stan Goldberg.