Commentary | Editors’ Note: Respect the elderly, respect yourself

Society often depicts seniors as an expanding problem – costly, burdensome, sick, and slow. We only ever hear that the aged population is ballooning and placing a larger strain on our society and resources. But the perception of the younger generation needing to shoulder the burden of the draining, aging baby-boomer population is false.

Many cultures respect and even venerate their elders, considering them the most valuable resource in society. It makes sense – they’ve been around for decades and seen things we’ve only heard about. Instead, Western society is largely accustomed to neglecting and ignoring our elders. We characterize them with a few stereotypes, but we forget that they are as diverse as we perceive our own demographic to be, and we rarely empathize.

At The Daily we wanted to take a look at seniors and focus not on what we give to them, but what they contribute to us. We’ve dedicated this issue to old people, hoping to bring to the forefront a group that so often gets left behind. The special pullout section features a variety of articles that explore the experiences of being old and the ways that seniors influence our society, culture, and economy.

This issue tries to break down the concept that the aged are stuck in a world that is not designed for them. We reject the notion that activity always declines with age, and instead recognize that it merely changes. With aging comes new perspectives, relationships with others, and interactions with the surrounding environment.

Everyone gets old, so the elderly are a marginalized community that encompasses other marginalized communities. In these pages, you’ll see how seniors are dancing their way through old age, how they’re still getting it on – and sometimes with members of the same sex. You’ll see that like us, our elders are learning, pushing for social change, that they’re productive, and active. They warrant our respect, not our pity.