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Letter: Young people do not value the wisdom of their elders

Young people do not value the wisdom of their elders

As a psychotherapist I am disturbed how insensitively and ignorantly older Americans are belittled, mistreated and disrespected. The older American has a long history and experienced much that the younger generation knows little about and feels too ignorant to know and understand. When they are ignorant they label their elders senile and “old-fashioned,” especially if the new generation has not heard much of history and denies that reality still exists.

The elderly have been ridiculed and denied what they have experienced. They consider themselves intelligent and “modern” and the oldsters are “has-beens” and ignorant. If a person is old he is considered a “has-been” and not worthy of having his opinion considered. When we need someone for a special problem, too often we ask about his age. In reality the older person has much more experience than the young beginner.

An excellent physician is one who thoroughly knows the patient and his illness; what will help or cure and what medication and treatment will not. We look for his experience and prefer someone who has been successful. We prefer a physician who has had much experience in his field. Looking at this we prefer one who has longer experience in a particular illness or situation. We do not prefer a young newcomer.

Let us remember that the experienced physician is not a youngster and the older patient knows more than the person who has had little experience with the symptoms that have befallen him.

Ursula A. Falk, Ph.D.


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