Why Talking to a Senior Might be Your Greatest Key to Knowledge

“Information is not knowledge.”- Quoted by Albert Einstein; a man who acquired more information than most in his time on this planet. But if information is not knowledge, what is? And what does it have to do with Fight Ageism?

Knowledge is the heart of Fight Ageism.

Knowledge one of the best pieces of ammunition you can use in the battle for education. It is, after all, the goal of Fight Ageism to educate seniors in ways to stay independent, and to educate everyone else on ways to appreciate those seniors.

And if education is the doorway to that goal, knowledge is the key.

But to get true knowledge, you have to do more than just acquire information. You have to do more than read the internet, browse social media and check emails. You have to feel—and it’s hard to feel through a screen.

You have to experience, communicate, and find emotion. That is where knowledge lives.

Knowledge lives in getting to know someone else. It lives in taking a walk in their shoes and experiencing life.

One of the best ways to do that is to get out today and go talk to a senior. Like Einstein, seniors are an incredible source of knowledge. Seniors have walked many miles in their storied shoes, and many are happy to share the steps of those journeys with an eager ear.

And chances are—if you stop to listen—you’ll be surprised by what they have to say.

In my early twenties, I carried a naive notion that seniors lived in a vacuum. You know the one: a vacuum where seniors are out-paced by technology, out of touch with the world, and walking to a different step. That all changed one fateful day when I paused an afternoon’s run to help an older gentleman carry groceries home.

The walk with an 82-year old Tedd Mayer lasted only a few short city blocks and maybe fifteen minutes of my time; but it forever changed the way I viewed seniors. It shattered the vacuum.

Tedd had seen dramatic changes in the world since his youth in the 1930s, but one thing that hadn’t changed were people. People, he said, were mostly good in nature. People, he said, were always coming to help him. He told me about the beautiful days, the cold days, and the rainy days of carrying groceries home. Usually, someone came to help.

People, he said, were strong.

Tedd was stronger. He had walked that same walk every few days for more than a decade. In total, he’d walked 5,700 miles with and without a helper for those bags.

The grocery store, senior centers, and even the community pool can be great places to talk to seniors like Tedd. They are great places to find perspective on your own life—perspective and knowledge.

It’s been said that in today’s fast-paced world we are information rich and time poor.

But the real secret is that you need to combine both to find knowledge.

So go find your knowledge. Talk to a senior. Try it today and you’ll not only be surprised at who you meet, but what you learn along the way.

Written by Joe Sills

Joe Sills

Joe Sills is a writer for Preferred Care at Home, a National Senior Home Care Franchise. Joe is a part of Preferred Care at Home’s Fight Ageism movement. His short stories promoting seniors and their legacy can be found at the Fight Ageism website.