Turning the tables

by | April 18, 2013

Seniors have often been dispensing advice to the young. The time has come to hear what the young would like to say to those older.

BY: Eleanor Yap


There is no denying it – seniors have a world of experience and with that brings lots of wisdom. Seniors often share these pearls of wisdom with the younger generation so that they may avoid the same mistakes that the seniors may have made when they were younger.

Ageless Online has decided to turn the tables around and ask those below the age of 50 to share their advice to those older. They may have less experience than the older generation but you will find that they have a bit of wisdom too and they are worth listening to:

“You need to earn the respect of the younger generation but don’t take respect for granted just because you are older. Also, be considerate such as don’t take up an extra seat with your bag on the bus or train.” – Arnold Goh, 48

“Older adults should keep their mind and body active by engaging in activities that they enjoy so that they can find meaning and satisfaction in life. Just remember, you can still learn and try new things even when you are old. Begin with something simple and gradually build the challenge up as you boost your self-confidence and –assurance. I believe that older adults are also capable of contributing, and sharing their knowledge and experience with people around them. It can be an enriching experience for the older adults and others. You could start a conversation with someone whom you feel comfortable talking to.” – Rachel Ong, 21

“The elderly should be beacons of hope for the young, guiding them with wisdom acquired through experience but with modernity and open mindedness. This will allow them to be both appreciated and relevant in today’s world.” – Rohit Mukherjee, 19

“The elderly should never feel that they are too old to experience something new. Curiosity should not fade with age. I’m not saying that they should be out skydiving or bungee-jumping (if that is not what they want to do) but I feel that one should never stop searching for new and enriching activities to try out. Life is about discovery and life should not stop with old age.” – James Chen, 24

“Why not organise a garage sale by foraging some of the older clothes you adore in your heyday, accessories and even vintage items – be the wardrobe/style coordinator for the young to raise awareness (and maybe even funds) on how to recycle, reuse and reduce waste creatively? After all, vintage is big. And isn’t it cool to see our seniors staying so relevant to the current times?” – Su San Tan, 41

“Don’t stop doing what you love just because you have more grey hair now! Be active physically and mentally, and make more friends!” – Roy Kwek, 26

“While older persons have been at the receiving end of unfair stereotypes, some of them are equally guilty of making generalisations about the younger generations. In their eyes, younger persons are the “strawberry generation” – sheltered, spoilt and self-centred individuals who have grown up in an era of relative affluence. We are products of different historical circumstances so maybe older persons who have lived through wars and poverty tend to appreciate the values of resilience and thriftiness. However, we should be mindful that within every generation exists diversity; within the “strawberry generation”, there are also people who do not hail from privileged backgrounds and nevertheless, are making a difference in society. For meaningful conversations to ensue between generations, stereotypes should be discarded first.” – Sim Jui Liang, 38     

“Seniors should consider using their time and experience in volunteering, for example helping out at nursing homes, talking to the seniors there who may need a listening ear or company. Volunteering can help seniors keep themselves mentally and physically active, and through it they realise that they still have a lot to contribute to society.” – Cindy Peh, 22

“Times have changed and the world today is nothing like the world decades ago. People just don’t think or react the same way to issues like before. While many of the younger generation, I believe, respect and acknowledge their elders for their wisdom and experience, I think more of our elders can also try to be more open-minded and receptive to new thinking and new ways of doing things. For example, filial piety does not always equate to living under the same roof!” – Debbie Ng, 33

“Seniors can pick up a hobby or interest to keep themselves engaged and relevant at all time. It would be great to have friends who share similar interests participating in activities together, which will help to strengthen their social support. Seniors should also make plans before their retirement in order to better manage their time and finances.” – Ivy Phua, 20

“We all age, each and every day. Your years of experience and wisdom, no miracle cream can nor should erase. Be not afraid, when you express your love and concern for those around you. Even if the reception is one of uninvited, nag or complain; speak what is on your mind, for to dwell in it can be a lonely place. Be unafraid, to live your life’s next best decade. For you were young once, had a head-start, but we all catch up eventually, only to realise then, a little too late, how quickly we misunderstood those before us, until they no longer stand among us. So live on today, and make each breath count.” – Byron Ho, 42

For me, I would like to leave you with my little piece of advice – “Don’t carry burdens and learn to let go. It may be hard but it cuts down stress and allows you to live a more positive and healthy life”.


(** PHOTO CREDIT: Young and older, Dreamstime; café tables and chairs, Krappweis, stock.xchng)



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