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Do you see the same person in the mirror that you saw 10 years ago? What do you think when you see a senior? How do you feel?   Hopefully you see a knowledgeable, worldly and interesting individual and feel and show empathy. Let’s talk about how to appreciate seniors.

One way to appreciate seniors is with empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand other people by using your imagination to feel what they are feeling, such as pain, sorrow, and other emotions. Next time you look at a senior or feel impatient with them, remember, they were once young too. And you will be a senior one day. Most don’t feel much older than you feel and they certainly don’t think of themselves as old. So celebrate them.

We don’t often think of our encroaching age until we become grandparents, or hit that magic age of 60. For some, it’s when they retire. We don’t feel any older and don’t see ourselves as old when we look at those who may be only 10 years older.

Why don’t we appreciate seniors like we used to?

In many societies seniors are revered, taken care of and looked upon as a source of knowledge and wisdom. Unfortunately, in Western society, some think of those who are older as those that need to be put somewhere and hidden from the public, never realizing what they are missing out on. Some say that this change came about as families moved farther apart and generations no longer lived together. The distance has caused us to appreciate seniors less and not celebrate seniors as much.

Does our attitude affect how we appreciate seniors?

It seems today, that we have an attitude toward those who are much older that shows our ignorance and we glorify the young, those with no experience and not much knowledge at all. We don’t understand aging until we ourselves are also older. This lack of empathy may show in our hospitals where some staff show little patience for those who are aging and ill. They may view them as unimportant, when they really should be realizing that these people are interesting and usually, fun to be around.

There are obvious changes as we age and some that are not quite so obvious. All of us notice when we pass that unknown number that suddenly puts us in a group that is thought of as a senior. Up until then, we were just one of the many people out there doing our jobs and living our lives.

Think of each person you meet, whether young or old, as an individual. They have all had life experiences, many of which are similar to your own. Each of our senior citizens looks in the mirror each day and sees a different face than the one reflected back to them. At some point in our lives we will see the same face reflected back to us in our mirror and we’ll hope that others also see the real us.