The Role of the Elderly in the Family

Life expectancy has increased during recent decades, which has increased the number of elderly in the society. Nowadays, the media’s discussions mostly revolve around the burden of the elderly and the negative changes that happen during this period. However, aging is a common phenomenon that we are all going to experience sooner or later. Old age is one of the stages of human development, unlike those who consider it the end of life, it is the beginning of new changes, and it can be regarded as one of the liveliest stages of life. In today’s article, we will discuss the role of the elderly in the family and how they affect them.

The Value of Aging

Aging should not be considered a tragedy, and nobody should feel sorry for being old. It is a great mistake to see old age synonymous with weakness and degeneration of the body. Although some natural changes happen during this period of life, and the person might not have the vigor of his/her younger years, it is still a period to enjoy.

Aging is full of its beauties that deal with concern and regret by some people, and these sensations are mostly due to ignorance or lack of accurate information about old age. Aging is the period of harvesting the fruits of life, in which a person finds the result of the efforts and activities of life. Hence, it is a period of enjoyment and happiness due to the experiences one has gathered during younger years.

a senior who is hopeful and she is smiling

The elderly seem to be old and disabled, and they might consider themselves excluded from the family and society. Still, the reality is that these people have many valuable abilities that can be used and exploited. Hence, the fundamental role of the elderly is to impart their knowledge and experiences to younger generations.

Many of these people are essential and reliable people for the young generation who can educate the youth and solve their problems. Hence, with their worthy experiences, the elderly can help family members and the community solve problems and reach happiness and prosperity in life.

The measures that the elderly take for life and the ways they use to resolve youth conflicts are valuable and very important. The elderly should be considered the blessings of life since they can help both their families and societies.

The Benefits of Aging

Old age has benefits, both individually and socially. Some of the benefits of old age are as follows: 

  • Feelings of perfection and maturity 
  • Feelings of needlessness for others 
  • Tolerance for problems 
  • Having leisure time to walk towards perfection 
  • Opportunities to take care of and evaluate oneself
  • Personal benefits, and respect, i.e., being loved in the family, 
  • Being respected among the community
  • People’s attention to the elderly as a source of thought
  • Being consulted

The Role of the Elderly as Touchstones of Life

The elderly have a superior thought that results from what they have seen, heard, and experienced throughout their lives. Some of the elderly can act as role models for others. Most of the youth consider the elderly as touchstones and measure everything based on their experiences.

The Role of the Elderly as Sources of Vitality and Hope

The elderly are playing drums with family members

The influence and role of the elderly in the family are undeniable. An active, self-reliant, and happy older person strengthens the emotional relationships between family members. The elderly are always a safe emotional and psychological refuge for young people. Furthermore, their help promotes mental health, self-confidence, and the feeling of hope and motivation among other family members. The elderly can also expand interpersonal and social relationships among family members.

The Role of the Elderly as Sources of Experience

In a typical and balanced family, the elderly play the role of guardian, whose job is to guide and set the family’s general policy. Children follow them, learn how to live, and use their experiences to achieve peace and success in life. They mainly resolve disputes and their experiences are valuable for the youth to achieve success in life. No one can consider himself in a higher position than the elderly due to having more knowledge or having a higher university degree since nothing can replace the wealth of experience the elderly possess.

The elderly have often lived through wars and have seen various hardships during their youth. Hence, they can recount the past stories and help the youth realize that life has its ups and downs, which should be passed by determination and hard work. The elderly can act as a mentor, and they can encourage the youth to chase their dreams.

The Roles of the Youth Toward the Elderly

For young people to communicate properly and well with the elderly, they must be familiar with their duties and perform them in the best possible way. Accepting and tolerating the elderly, especially the elderly parents, and caring for them with patience is one of the essential characteristics of a healthy and normal family. Benefiting from their experiences and loving and solving their problems are among the duties of young people. We owe our lives to the elderly who has spent their youth to raise and protect us, so we must help them in their senior years.

Respect for the elderly at any age is essential. When a respectful relationship is established between the new and old generations, the older adult feels respected and valued. It makes him/her proud of his/her precious savings and not afraid to share his/her experiences with the new generation. Constant communication with the elderly helps to maintain their physical and mental health.

Initially, one of our roles toward seniors is to create opportunities for the elderly to express experiences and feelings. It increases their sense of worth and usefulness and helps improve their mental health. In addition, when an older person realizes others care for him, he becomes more motivated to live and serve. Hence, he becomes more active in the community and accelerates the growth of the community.

Generation Gap

One of the critical issues of the current era is the gap between the young and the old. The opposition of the elderly to the new generation is by pessimism, humiliation, and sometimes enmity and attack. The youth’s opposition to them is shown by resistance to the elderly and rebellion against their commands and prohibitions. The youthfulness and modernity of the youth, on the one hand, and the adherence of the elderly to the traditions, on the other, provide the ground for conflicts and vulnerabilities.

An elderly is reading a book to his grandchildren

To bridge this gap and have a calm and peaceful environment, the young should cooperate with the elderly to benefit from each other. Understanding the causes of differences, understanding the nature of the two generations, and choosing the right way to bring the two generations closer to each other, is very useful in creating this calm and clear environment.

The Necessity of Communicating with the Elderly

The presence of the elderly in society is a blessing, and one appreciates them when one becomes an adult or a parent and realizes the value of these people. They have sacrificed their youth for us, and now we must care for them.

The youth must choose the best way for themselves, and this is achievable only through a guide to help them distinguish right from wrong. Hence, the elderly are the best guide and can help the youth with their wise knowledge and experiences. 

a young woman is communicating with the elderly.

Many of the youth’s failures are due to ignorance, and they cannot resolve this ignorance unless they leave their pride aside. The elderly help the child prevent these falls. The youth should always benefit from the ideas of the elderly and achieve the best of their lives.

It is essential to recognize the valuable role the elderly are playing in our lives. They have useful contributions to both family and society. We should always remember that one day we are going to be older family members. So embracing the values and the strengths of this period can have good outcomes for our future. 


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8 months ago

No one knows more than our seniors. It is critical to benefit from their experience and wisdom. But I wish it wasn’t so hard for young people to communicate with them. I have to say. The younger generation is pretty impatient. You talk to them for 2 minutes, and they start to get bored and tell you they don’t have time for lectures. The age gap is just huge. There’s no way to convince them that they need to hear their seniors out. They work for two days and think they have figured it all out. They think that everything should be experienced directly and are very unlikely to take advice from the people who have seen more. Society wouldn’t be like this if they could listen.

Reply to  Robert
4 days ago

That’s a pity. I guess the young are the losers if they treat the elderly like that. They would lose a wealth of experience and wisdom the seniors are ready to offer. Yet, I guess the elderly can better fill this gap using their understanding of life and people. They know well enough to treat each character, so they may break this ice and create intimacy by participating in activities the younger generation is into, such as music, playing games, etc.

20 days ago

Well, they are the salt of the earth. As someone her parents live with, I advocate for their unconditional love, patience, humour, comfort, life lessons and most importantly, ” homemade cookies.” In my experience, grannies play a significant part in bringing up children. It’s been a decade since my parents moved in with us, and I should say they are the most valuable asset every family can have. I’m so grateful my husband appreciated them.

Reply to  Noah
12 days ago

I agree with you. I’m a single parent and mother of two children. I don’t know what could have happened to me without the presence of my mom. She is a tolerant woman who takes care of my children when I’m at work. She is not simply a grandma; she is their second mother! She tells them stories, makes delicious cookies, helps them with school, and takes care of them even better than me. The point is that sometimes we forget how valuable they are and how we owe our lives to them.

Reply to  Noah
6 days ago

Lucky you! My husband’s mum moved in with us a month ago, and she’s driving me crazy! She constantly nags about the food, how my daughter dresses up, even how I dress up! I’m not against the idea of having grandparents around but not this type of them!

Matthew Murphy
Matthew Murphy
Reply to  Noah
6 days ago

I agree with you. 
I have been married for eight years. My mother-in-law lives with us. She always helps me with my house chores, and whenever I am at work, she takes care of my twins. I really cannot imagine my life without her.

18 days ago

Not to put them in a stereotypical role, but I would have had a very different life without my mom’s advice. She has taught my kids and me the value of being present and reaching out to friends and family. I am convinced that many of us are lonely for no reason. We market ourselves as being constantly busy, and at some point, our friends just stop asking to see us and assume we have something more important going on. I always try to open up time for people in my life and nurture my relationships. It has paid off.

Reply to  Lily
6 days ago

I can’t agree with you more. Not only can the family be a great source of affection and make you feel at home, but you can also rely on them in those times when life gets challenging, and you need a helping hand. If we don’t eventually remove the “I’m too busy” phrase from our vocabulary, we will miss the best moments we could have with our loved ones.

5 days ago

I couldn’t agree more! As we lost our grandparents, life is not going to be the same again. It’s like all of your childhood memories are gone forever, and even family gatherings do not feel like before. I wish I could still have them by my side.