WRIGHT WAY: Why older is better
by WILLIAM WRIGHT
Aug 15, 2012 | 1631 views | 0 0 comments | 93 93 recommendations | email to a friend | print
According to the Administration on Aging, the United States is experiencing a dramatic increase in the numbers of people who live to old age.

This agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said this increase can be attributed to “advances in science, technology and medicine leading to reductions in infant and maternal mortality, infectious and parasitic diseases, occupational safety measures and improvements in nutrition and education.”

Good news, indeed. In fact, seniors are expected to outnumber children ages 14 and under for the first time in history by 2050. This prediction raises an interesting question: If seniors are going to be around longer than many people expected, shouldn’t they be put to better use? I mean, since they are getting better with age — like wine and cheese — why not take advantage of their experience, wisdom and knowledge?

In their book “Building Community from the Inside Out,” authors John Kretzmann and John McKnight spoke about the experience and skills of seniors and how putting them to work can be a great asset to any community. Even the Bible says at Job 12:12, “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.” — New Living Translation.

If you agree, isn’t it time we asked for their advice, opened our mind and listened without interrupting? Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise person will listen and take in more instruction.” — New World Translation.

Granted, today’s generation might be light years ahead when it comes to using modern technology, but imagine how they could benefit in honing their social skills, character development, resilience during adversity and faith in God by spending more time with older ones who know how to navigate through life successfully?

In ancient times, it was more than a suggestion for people to treat seniors with honor. Leviticus 19:32 says, “You must rise in the presence of an old person and respect the elderly.” — Common English Bible.

Why is this important? Since every generation learns from the one that came before it, our parents and grandparents have gone through much of what we are going through. Most of them found ways to survive on less, be content, work through relationship problems, raise kids, endure humiliation and turn to a higher source for support. Shouldn’t that count for something?

More importantly, many older ones want to help. They want to contribute and feel appreciated. By listening and learning from these seasoned men and women, future generations can avoid making certain mistakes in life, or worse. It may also be the answer to their prayers as echoed by one Bible writer who said to God at Psalm 71:9, “Do not reject me now that I am old; do not abandon me now that I am feeble.” — Good News Translation.

Could we be the answer to a prayer? For many seniors, living longer is not a blessing. Unfortunately, the elderly have also become the highest risk population for suicide in the U.S., according to the American Association of Suicidology.

The common risk factors include social isolation and loneliness, the recent death of a loved one, physical illness, uncontrollable pain or the fear of a prolonged illness as well as changes in social roles, such as retirement.

Millions have found the best way to counter this is by studying the Bible, remembering Scriptures and sharing them with others. Such an undertaking has made many seniors feel they have something valuable to contribute to others. Reading, listening to or quoting the words of the Bible to others can do wonders for the heart, soul and mind.

Since living longer is only better if those years are spent in meaningful, quality pursuits — why not invite an older person to your home for a family visit? One of the best ways to keep encouraged is by attending Christian meetings. As Psalms 92:13-14 says, “They will take root in your house, Lord God, and they will do well. They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old.” — Contemporary English Version.

Those who “take root” by being regulars in the “house of God,” will flourish spiritually even when they are old, according to God’s promise. They also have rejoicing and satisfaction from knowing they are doing as much as their circumstances allow in God’s service. Their lives are precious and forever valuable to the God of all comfort. For them, suicide is never an option.

As George Burns said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” American philosopher Amos Bronson Alcott said, “To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent — that is to triumph over old age.”

We’re all getting older. But older can be better when we use what we have and do what we can to serve God. As David said at Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread.” — King James Version.

By living right in the eyes of God, the future of seniors will be better than ever because old age will be gone forever.