Aging: On ACCEPTING an Act of Kindness

It seems that as we age, we begin to see acts of kindness as a negative thing. Capability we see in ourselves makes us unappreciative of those people that reach out a hand or voice to help us in some way.

I attended a grandchild's graduation from college at Oregon State University this last Saturday. A stadium designed to seat more than 45,000 spectators was more than half filled. 3600 of the 5000+ students that graduated on that day were in attendance. It was an awesome thing to see.

Of course there were elderly grandparents in attendance, many walking with canes or walker. Wheelchair seating was available. And then there was my husband and myself.

We both walk fast and usually know where we are going. But Reser Stadium is huge and the escalators are narrow. Everyone needed to stay on the more or we were going to be like the crowd in a Shanghai subway when someone stumbles...down and out.

We had started up the escalator when I hesitated at the first landing and my husband went on before me. I wasn't sure if he was right so I didn't rush to follow.

That was when a hand took hold of mine and a voice said "he wants you to follow" and I was guided up and on the moving steps. At the top the younger woman told me that she hoped I didn't mind her taking my hand.

What a lovely thing that was. An act of kindness in a place where there was a lot of rushing and pushing.

I am learning. Getting older is not easy because I am still very capable and strong willed. But I think that accepting an act of kindness is an act of kindness in and of itself. I hope I can remember to be grateful for people that stop to help or want to help me with decisions because they think that an elderly person cannot decide. There is no malice...only kindness given from one person to another.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. Seeing the pride in my almost 90 year old mother in law (she has mobility and falling issues and must use a walker), I think a lot of the rejection of kindness stems from a combination of feeling loss of control and a reminder that your body is no longer what it once was like. It diminishes people because society has taught us to look down on the elderly. I am old enough to accept help and young enough to still feel I don't need it. Eventually I will be dependent on those kindnesses and it is not a good feeling, I must admit.

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    1. But, we can learn, as I did, that the act of kindness is not demeaning but simply an act of love. Don't you agree?

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  2. I accept help every now and then. Most of the time I say no, thanks.

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    1. Think of all the lovely people we would meet if we weren't so set on being independent. Maybe, that person just need to be helpful in a "random" kind of way, not because we are old!

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  3. Acts of kindness are a great way of giving and receiving, and I have experienced both aspects. As I age, I appreciate small gestures more, like a door being held open or someone offering a shopping cart.

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    1. I hear you. As a young woman I wanted to be liberated and show the world that I was not dependent on anyone to take care of me. I spurned doors being opened for me and so forth. Now I am so pleased with a little bit of chivalry but I have made my own bed and now am lying in it! Darn.

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  4. I personally think the kind of kindness you are describing is more a matter of accepting that we are aging. Yes I am getting old and my bones are going to hell :). I accept that and therefore appreciate it when someone offers their help or maybe just a seat in a busy restaurant waiting line. That seems to happen more rarely now that I am on the opposite end. Young people now seldom offer to stand so I can sit.

    I kind of think that not accepting assistance is more of a female thing but I know it is not exclusive to you gals. ... :)

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    1. I agree RJ. It goes back to those days in the 60-70s when women were making a point. Now that the point has been made we can't get past it.

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  5. I'm with Alana. But lm not very graceful about it yet.
    As my mother aged she only accepted my sister and my help.
    It was hard.
    And thanks for that more than kind comment.

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    1. I am trying very hard to see those acts in a different light.

      Thank you for stopping by. I value your comments because you work in my world only on the helping side. You are not here with me yet.

      Be well.

      b+

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  6. I want to add here that on this and every day I am grateful for my life. Truly thankful!

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  7. Thinking about it.
    By insisting that we do things on our own, do we perpetuate the idea that older people do not deserve an once of respect?
    It is difficult to teach my grandchild kindness.
    He opens the door for an older person, and receives sneers.
    He helped an older guy pick up groceries from a broken bag and got, "I can do that , get away" as the response.
    If we want a kinder society, we need to accept help.

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    1. Yes, you see what I see. Why can't we be grateful when someone care about us and wants to help? I don't understand.

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  8. Excellent point. I don't have a problem with getting help.... yet. It might come later as I lose more mobility and strength. I hope I continue to keep this post in mind.

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