Knowledge comes from learning – wisdom comes from living

On October 1, we celebrate the International Day of Older Persons. Although not as well known as Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Women’s Day or Youth Day, we should never overlook or downplay the contribution of older people in our society.


They’ve lived longer
Well, the obvious reason is that they’ve lived a lot longer, so they have more experience of life. While that doesn’t automatically make them wiser, scientific tests have proved that older people are often more patient and have a deeper understanding of, and empathy for, others.

Different world
They grew up in a different world. Hard to believe that 50 years ago there was no Internet, mobile phones, personal computers, hand held calculators or ATM machines!

Today’s retirees have lived through the third industrial revolution, as well as the so called Industry 4.0 – the fourth Industrial Revolution which we are currently experiencing.

If nothing else, this has made them extremely adaptable and downright interesting to talk to! Kids today may be astonished at how many older men and women can add, subtract and multiply in their heads! And come up with the correct answer faster than a calculator.

Acknowledge their contributions
One of the saddest things about getting older is becoming invisible … even disposable in the eyes of the younger generation. This is particularly hurtful for older people who have held positions of importance and value during their lives, such as doctors, teachers, pilots or company directors.

Although our brains may work more slowly as we age, knowledge and experience more than makes up for this, and older people’s thoughts and opinions offer valuable insight.

Social values
Older people exhibit high levels of social values and behaviours. We just have to look at our Meals on Wheels volunteers – many of whom are themselves well into their sixties – to witness their willingness to help and care for others and the environment. Older adults are more likely to be tolerant of people who are different and to endorse equal treatment for all.

Role models
Older men and women are great role models for children. Kids who spent a lot of time with their grandparents usually have well developed values and an enhanced sense of security and confidence. They may also develop into more compassionate, thoughtful adults, as they learn that granny or grandpa needs help with certain activities.

Grandparents also offer a link to a child’s cultural heritage and family history. Children understand more of who they are and where they come from through their connection with their grandparents.

Honour the Aged
Why not show your support by wearing one of Taft’s purple heart stickers on October 1. Stickers are available at just R10 each from Kemmy Leigh Moodley. Call 031 332 3721 or email