There are over 500 Native American nations, and each has its own traditions and attitudes toward aging and elderly care. Karen Cokayne of the University of Reading, quoting Cicero as saying, For there is assuredly nothing dearer to a man than wisdom, and though age takes away all else, it undoubtedly brings us that. Although westernization has lessened the power of these values in some cities and communities, adult children are still generally expected to care for their parents in their old age. The Western cultural stigma around aging and death doesn t exist in Greece. Within Native American families, it s common for the elders to be expected to pass down their learnings to younger members of the family, according to the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Chinese children care for their parents in old age. And this is not just passive advice; their word is final in settling disputes, Achyut Bihani wrote in Slate. In African-American culture, death is seen as part of the natural rhythm of life, which lessens the cultural fear around aging. Many Indians live in joint family units, with the elders acting as the head of the household. The old were expected to act with moderation and dignity, at all times. In Greek and Greek-American culture, old age is honored and celebrated, and respect for elders is central to the family.
There, as in all of Greece, abbots are addressed by everyone as Geronda, which means old man. In ancient Rome, elders were a precious resource. And even outside the family unit, Koreans are socialized to respect and show deference to older individuals as well as authority figures. Physical signs of human aging tend to be regarded with distaste, and aging is often depicted in a negative light in popular culture, if it is even depicted at all. Psychologist Erik Erickson argued that the Western fear of aging keeps us from living full lives. Disrespecting the elders of the family or sending them to an old-age home has a social stigma in India, Bihani adds. Few of those who are filial sons and respectful brothers will show disrespect to superiors, and there has never been a man who is respectful to superiors and yet creates disorder, Confucius wrote in Analects. The age is thought to be reason for celebration in part because many of their ancestors would not have survived past the age of 60 without the advances of modern medicine. Here s what we can learn from other cultures, both past and present, about embracing the aging process. As in Korea, Chinese families traditionally view filial piety and respect for one s elders as the highest virtue, deriving from the Confucian tradition. Arianna Huffington described an experience of Greek elderly respect in her book, Ten years ago I visited the monastery of Tharri on the island of Rhodes with my children.
A similar large family celebration is held for the 70th birthday, known as kohCui ( old and rare ). Though attitudes towards death in contemporary American culture are largely characterized by fear, Native American cultures traditionally accept death as a fact of life. The idea of honoring old age, indeed identifying it with wisdom and closeness to God, is in startling contrast to the way we treat aging in America.dancing with the stars cheryl and chad dating.. Not exactly terms of endearment in my adopted home. However, this tradition is beginning to break down in China, due to the country s one-child policy, rising life expectancy and an aging population. A superior man is devoted to the fundamental. To abandon one s family is considered deeply dishonorable. Placing your parents in retirement homes will see you labeled as uncaring or a bad son, Beijing resident Zhou Rui told China. Nursing homes are beginning to become a more socially acceptable option for elderly care. Lacking a culturally viable ideal of old age, our civilization does not really harbor a concept of the whole of life, he wrote. .
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