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Letters/Discussion Forums

Resources of elderly grossly underutilised

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Martin Zagnoev

Yet in the Western culture we often try to cling to our youth. This is impossible of course and is a losing battle; it is better to rather age gracefully.

We could learn from the African traditions where the elders are revered. In the traditional Jewish view, honouring old people is an extension of the commandment to honour our parents.

While it is unhealthy to be overly secretive, many of us are ashamed to give our age away as if there is something wrong with it. Anyway, the other person is likely to speculate about how old we are and will probably get it wrong, so why not set the record straight?

To temper the recklessness of the young with the wisdom of the old is a path to wisdom and success. It is a pity to force productive and experienced people into retirement, especially when they hold so much knowledge about running the organisation. Starting again with an inexperienced person who will make mistakes is in itself a mistake.

Why not make use of the incredible resources of the elderly to guide our young people? This would benefit both the young and the old and provide the latter with a new lease on life.

It is nevertheless true that the enthusiasm of youth coupled with fresh ideas can also be very useful, yet older people could also be encouraged to dig deep and tap into these wellsprings.

If we instil respect for the aged into our society it will make our own later journeys easier.

Johannesburg

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