ELDERLY (adj.) PEOPLE (noun)
1. All people have the same basic needs; age changes the ways of satisfying those needs.
a. physical (including safety)
b. emotional - love, friendship, respect, to be valued, wanted, included in family
c. spiritual - meaning, significance, value of life
3. Exercises of the imagination
a. my goals for my children, myself - to what age? - including my old age - see elderly as
older edition of myself - see elderly as having goals
b. build child's self-respect/love ("Love your neighbor as yourself), positive self-image via
respect from others - elderly need (and deserve) respect
c. child-parent conflict - child starts from emotion+desire+ignorance - knowledge gradually increases but emotion+desire remain ("I have been 30 but you have never been 52!") - same
emotion+desire apply to our relationship to the elderly
d. "old" vs. "antique" - uniqueness, value, inspirationfrom elderly
e. help needy stranger vs. relative - see my own elderly as opportunity to help
4. Choice of care implies motivation of "chesed" (lovingkindness); need to look for opportunities to expand that chesed because: (a) show the next generation the value of chesed; (b) clarify our actions to prepare for our own needs from our children; (c) chesed is the purpose of creation, to imitate G-d's chesed. Psychological barriers to chesed are opportunities for spiritual growth.
5. Choice of Jewish care implies Jewish identity important to elderly; Jewish value of all aspects of life and care should be made apparent.
6. Applications - to accomplish 2b and 2c
a. be part of family decision process - consult for perception, opinion
b. (volunteer) advisors for business, law, nutrition - any expertise or competence
c. surrogate grandparents to children in need
d. charity work
e. study of Torah and application to their life conditions