In many traditional cultures, as a person ages they become an ‘elder’ … In contemporary Western society, they become ‘elderly’. Consider if you will the fine line between these two terms.
The elder is treated with respect for the wisdom they’ve accumulated, and relieved of the burdens of daily life that younger members of the society in question may perform. The elder has a chance to move from the profane, into a more spiritual realm where they can develop a sense of awe and awareness of the miracle that is life.
On the other hand, the elderly are prepared for retirement. The majority are funneled through a system built on the adage that ‘greed is good’ and that ‘money is power’, which chews and spits them out as little more than over-worked husks.
The elder is a leader, the elderly; a ‘burden’.
The latter part of life should be the richest and most profound, where we can dive deeper within ourselves an make connections with other elements of life we have hitherto had little time to observe.
This is where the practice of meditation and mindfulness can help to awaken the mind to the realization of oneself, to being and to life. The practice of meditation can serve the purpose of spiritual expansion and promote fulfillment. Best of all, there needs to be no religious basis to clearing your mind and enhancing your sense of calm and awareness.
Starting such practices early can help better prepare you to cope with a range of life events, including but not limited to retirement, stress, and just daily life.