3 ways to respect the elderly

3 ways to respect the elderly
3 ways to respect the elderly

It can sometimes be difficult to understand the generations that came before us and feel like you have nothing in common with them. But older people are full of wisdom and knowledge that they want to share, which is why it is important that we respect them.


Method 1 of 3: Interact with unknown seniors

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Step 1. Ask them how they want you to address them

Even if you grew up in a laid-back environment and call your loved ones by first name, don't think this is suitable for a senior. Some people prefer a more traditional approach and be called M or Mrs X or Y. So it is best to ask them the question.

If you don't know how to ask them this question or your interaction with this person is very short, prefer the polite phrase using Mr or Mrs

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Step 2. Offer to help

Older people are not as strong or skillful as they used to be, which can make some daily tasks very complicated. Offering your help can therefore make their lives easier and show your respect for them.

  • You can hold the door to the person following you, especially if it is an elderly person using a cane or a walker.
  • When you are on public transport, offer your seat to an elderly person who will probably need it more than you.
  • If you are in a store, you may suggest that an older person pick up an item from the higher shelves. You can also offer to carry his bag and store his groceries in the trunk of his car.
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Step 3. Be patient

Seniors don't walk as fast as you and crossing the street can take a long time for them. Be patient and respectful by not trying to rush them.

  • If an older person takes longer to get on the bus or elevator, don't rush them. Let her take her time so that she doesn't get hurt.
  • Don't get impatient if an elderly person is standing in front of you in a line. Be understanding and offer to help organize your groceries, for example.
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Step 4. Do not imagine that these people are disabled

Many older people have health problems and therefore need assistance, but not all of them. Automatically imagining that an elderly person has poor eyesight or hearing problems is condescending and may upset them (especially if you start yelling when you speak to them).

If you are not sure whether a senior has sight or hearing problems, just ask. This will help you avoid upsetting her unnecessarily

Method 2 of 3: Interact with a loved one

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Step 1. Go visit them

Older people often feel lonely because they no longer work and cannot go out so easily. This is especially true for people living in retirement homes. Take the time to visit them so that they don't feel left out.

If you are very busy, take the time to call them. You can even set a time when you can call them each week so they know you are thinking of them

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Step 2. Take an interest in their life

It is a misconception that the elderly are not very busy. However, they are often still active and participate in many activities (even if it is just playing cards or walking in a park). So remember to ask them about their day when you go to visit them.

If your loved ones have a passion, you can even invite them to participate. This will show that you are genuinely interested in the things they are passionate about

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Step 3. Don't try to control their existence

Older people sometimes need your help (like cleaning, filling out papers, etc.), but that doesn't make them children. Offer to help, but respect their choices as much as possible.

Method 3 of 3: Use their experience

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Step 1. Give importance to their opinion

Older people are not disconnected from the rest of the world and their experience can give you a different perspective that may help you with a problem you were facing.

If you don't agree, don't try to convince her. Discuss calmly and each express your point of view with respect for the other

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Step 2. Ask their advice

An older person can provide you with very valuable advice from their experience. If you have a problem at school, in your relationship or if you are hesitating about your professional career, it is possible that she has gone through the same situations and can therefore guide you in your choices.

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Step 3. Learn about their traditions

Traditional customs are often passed down from generation to generation, and the elderly in your family probably know a lot about your ancestors. You can ask them questions about the customs of your family, but also about its origins, etc.

For example, you can make your family tree with an elderly person in your family. Refer to specialized sites that can be very useful in your research and ask your older relatives if they remember certain details


  • A small token of affection like a smile or a greeting to an elderly person on the street will have a very big impact. So try to get closer to the old people around you.
  • Don't be insulting to an older person by assuming they won't understand you. If you have to explain something to him (like using a computer, for example), be clear and use simple vocabulary without being patronizing.
  • Sometimes a straightforward approach is the best way to show an older person that you understand them. Explain to her that you respect and admire her so that she knows how valuable she is to you.

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