The Wisdom of the Elderly

· August 25, 2018

The wisdom of the elderly is infinite. You only need to be willing to wholeheartedly listen to their life stories. They want us to appreciate the wisdom they’ve gathered throughout the years. They’re the best example of “More knows the devil for being old than for being the devil”. They advise you based on their own experiences, their triumphs, and their defeats. They’re definitely rich in knowledge and we can learn from them.

Life’s full of nuances, things aren’t just black or white. This is something you realize when you pay attention to their stories. You discover how every single experience, as small as it might seem, builds a whole life. All of those amazing, unforgettable, and sometimes unexpected moments become part of the story of your life.

Working as a telecare service operator has allowed me to learn from many user stories. It has given me the opportunity to listen to them, understand them, and learn from their wisdom. There’s no wisdom like that of the elderly.

Elderly woman blowing a dandelion.

Love

The advice on love and the importance of choosing your life partner are part of the wisdom of the elderly. As many women say: sooner or later the kids will leave the nest, that’s life. Their departure might leave a void, causing important changes in the family dynamic.

Some mothers or fathers might begin to suffer from empty nest syndrome. When the kids leave home and the parents are retired, they start spending their free time with their significant other. This is why it’s so important to have a good relationship with your partner. Otherwise, loneliness might take over everything.

“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.”

-Ausonius-

On the other hand, having conversations with the elderly can make you believe in love more than ever. There are couples who have been together for more than 50 years. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy for them, but instead that they’ve always put their love first. They’ve been through every kind of struggle and faced it together as a team. There are widows who long for their life partner, but they remember them with love and gratefulness. Remembering things like the jokes they used to tell, the fact that they were great parents, what they liked to do.


Others have to separate themselves from their partner for other reasons. Sometimes, one of them has to enter a facility, while the other must stay at home. Most of them visit their significant other constantly, no matter their illness or condition.

Solitude

Many elderly people feel sad when they find themselves consumed in solitude. However, this is also part of their wisdom. This loneliness might be due to the fact that they don’t want to bother other people. Perhaps they’ve distanced themselves from their friends and families or they live far away.

There are all kinds of stories. Many kids don’t want to know anything about their parents. I don’t know why, but I’m not here to judge them. I sense that, if some elderly people could go back in time, they would. Maybe they’d choose to do some things differently.

When we’re young, we don’t really think about how our actions today will affect our lives tomorrow. At that moment, we don’t think about how serious the consequences can be. Not treating people correctly or not making an effort to relate to them can isolate us even from the people we love.

The wisdom of the elderly can be seen through their entire being.

We all need other people. At the end of the day, humans are social beings. Something that can help people not feel lonely is a hobby. Don’t just enjoy your hobbies by yourself, let other people enjoy them with you! I talked to an 85-year-old user whose grandchildren gifted her a tablet. She told me she loves playing games like Candy Crush with it. This not only keeps her mind busy, but it’s also a great bonding activity with her grandchildren.

Family

Valuing the importance of family is part of the wisdom of the elderly. Family is so important to those who have it, and it’s so greatly desired by those who don’t. Not only the children are important. There are cases where nieces and nephews take care of their aunts and uncles as if they were their own children. This is more common than we think.

Family was, is, and always will be important. The memories you have of your family will always be with you no matter what. You’ll continue to create even more memories as your family continues growing and you continue to enjoy their presence. Every anecdote is valuable, it doesn’t matter if they’re new or old. Many of the users tell stories about their parents or siblings. I remember a few, very impressive conversations I had:

  • A user recited poems her father had written. She knew them by memory, they weren’t written on a piece of paper. Her father’s memory is kept alive every time she recites his poetry. They were beautiful poems, full of life and valuable lessons.
  • Another user remembered her father fondly. He would teach her and her brother to read and write every night. Today, at 80 years old, she still remembers the name of the first book she ever read.
A grandpa hugging his grandson.

Death

Learning to accept death as a part of life is a fundamental pillar in the wisdom of the elderly. The truth is that they accept that death is near, but that doesn’t keep them from living their lives. Realizing this makes them enjoy what they have so much more. They continue to add great memories and experiences to the story of their lives.

However, other types of losses are a bit more difficult to deal with. For example the deterioration of their own physical and mental abilities and losing people close to them (friends and family).

Family occupies the most important place in their hearts, as it is during childhood. The difference is that it’s not their parents who play the most important role, but their children. Most elderly people feel better or worse depending on how they envision their children’s future. They want them to settle down, have a family of their own, and be happy.

The wisdom of the elderly

Being thankful is a huge part of the wisdom of the elderly. They’re thankful for the life they’ve lived and for being able to see how the world continues to develop. They don’t regret the difficulties they went through because they understand they wouldn’t have learned so many valuable lessons without them. When they’re playing cards with their grandchildren and spending quality time with their families, you see just how full of life they really are.

They remind us how important it is to work, to do what we love, and to expand our abilities as much as we can. However, they also remind us that our lives shouldn’t revolve around that. Elderly people regret the moments in which they were too focused on professionalism and work instead of creating memories with their loved ones.

On the other hand, they do mention how vital it is to feel satisfied and proud of our hard work. When talking about this, I can’t help but remember an 80-year-old woman who enrolled in painting classes although she had never painted before. Now she gives paintings to her entire family, which makes her feel thankful and proud of being able to create art despite her age.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

C. S. Lewis

Elderly man reading while drinking coffee.

Many elderly people love reading, their environment has favored their interest in culture, despite the difficulties. They like reading the newspaper or books of all kinds, from classic romance novels to modern stories. They look for interesting content adapted to their physical capacities, especially their eyesight.

What can we learn when attentively listening to the elderly and their stories? They have so much to teach us about life thanks to all of their life experiences and the way they currently live. Elderly people save their stories for those who really want to hear them, stories full of bravery, happiness, sadness, and even anger. They’ve lived all kinds of experiences, meaning they have a lot of stories waiting to be told. Let yourself discover how infinite the wisdom of the elderly is.