When you look at an older person, you probably notice the grey hair, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. Based on that, you may assume that they are limited in what they can do, and that their opinions no longer are as valuable as that of a younger person, even though they have considerably more life experience. You may also think that they are probably like other seniors you have met.
Listen to this video of a 2001 song by Barry Manilow, Not What You See, from his album Here at the Mayflower. It’s about a couple in a senior facility where the husband is caring for his wife who has experienced some health challenges. The song narrator, speaking to a younger person, explains how he remembers his wife and that he still sees her that way now. He understands that she’s still the same person inside, even though she may have changed in physical appearance or in what she’s able to do.
Some lyrics from the song:
I’ll bet you think that what you’re looking at
Is all we are
Two old people
Stumbling through the daysSonny, no one is what
They look like
Everyone’s so much more
Sonny, no one is what
They look like
And we’re not what you see
That’s for sure
If, like me, maybe you’re lucky to have a few friends who you’ve known since you attended school. Are they very different from when you met? Do you notice the exterior, or do you still think of them as the same person they’ve always been?
Take the time to get to know an older person. Seniors are very diverse, so don’t assume they’re like anyone else you’ve met or heard about. Breaking out of the pattern of only socializing with your own age group will add depth to your personal relationships, and allow you to benefit from the wisdom of elders.