How to respect elders who can be difficult

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Whether you’re walking down the street or you’re in the grocery store, meeting and helping out an elderly folk is one of the coolest things.

Most times, you’d get some elderly blessings and a couple of admirers around the corner. But if you’re unlucky, you may bump into a hard to please old folk.

Here’s the thing; respecting elderly folks is something that should be encouraged. And as an African, you’re probably taught from a younger age to respect the elders in the community.

The thing is; some of the elders are difficult to please. And if you come across these kinds, you may be tempted to throw your home-training or values out of the window. 

Here are some guides that could help when you encounter difficult elders.

  1. Learn to put yourself first

Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you’re irresponsible or heartless. It merely means that you value yourself and prioritize your peace over everything else.

Yes, go out of your way to respect elderly folks and help them out in every way you can. But you should do it without sacrificing your sanity.

2. Understand your limitations

It’s emotionally wrenching and time-consuming to care for elderly folks — especially if they’re your parents.

Taking care of your aging parents is the ultimate respect you’d give to them. But sometimes, you’ve got to understand your limits and know when to stop.

If you’re unable to be physically present at all times, you should hire someone to help out with the necessary things.

3. They enjoy talking

They can be bored, and because not many people talk to them normally, they appreciate it when you chat with them. But also, watch out for when they are feeling overwhelmed and retrieve.

Also, learn to defer to them. For instance, offer your seat, or ask politely if others could when you don’t have a seat. Make them comfortable.

4. Pay attention to their body language

Everything speaks at this time. Get clues.

5. Don’t refer to them as old

They don’t like that. Unfortunately, there is a negative connotation to “old’ these days. It used to mean “wise,” “matured,” “enriched,” and “resource” before, but nowadays, unfortunately, and sad, it’s a synonym for “decay.”

6. Don’t lose your cultural values

If you’re an African, and still feel it in your soul, prostrating for elders is essential. It’s part of your identity. Don’t lose it. Ways of prostrating vary from one African culture to the other, but regardless, we all know it when it’s done – it’s unmistakable. If you don’t know how, learn it.

7. Love yourself for trying

Respecting difficult elders even when it isn’t easy. Sometimes, you may feel guilty for no good reason or get mad at them.

In any case, you need to continually remind yourself that you’re doing great and doing the best you can.

All in all, you should love yourself for trying, and also appreciate the efforts you put into helping them have their best lives during old age.


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