But do we ever think about why it is so difficult for them to adjust and reform their way of thinking and pursuing the world?
Persuading someone to bring changes in themselves or their lifestyle can be challenging regardless of their age, but it is certainly much more difficult when the person of interest is an older citizen. Now, much of it might be due to medical conditions, such as dementia, and other degenerative diseases, but a lot of is it due to the whole process of growing old and experiencing life.
First and foremost, from their experiences, they have witnessed a lot of harsh reality and seen a lot of change not working out in the past. Since they are older and have experienced “life” to a much greater extent than the younger generation, the senior citizens tend to think that they know better when it comes to “living”. Moreover, they have experienced changes that did not bring about the results that were expected, instead, it rather led to compromising situations. According to most of them, their ideologies and way of living have worked out so far, and there is no harm in carrying out the rest of their lives the same way. This is why explaining to them why the change is necessary is crucial. Helping them understand the reason behind the change, and its importance plays a key role in upturning their willingness to accept the change.
We grew up hearing that with age comes wisdom, and although this statement is true, it does not necessarily mean that their ability of conceptual reasoning is also improvising as they grow older. It is very rare, and in most cases seems to be declining with age. This is why evaluating any underlying cognitive conditions is important before imposing a senior person to go through a behavioral change.
Since they have become accustomed to living their lives a certain way, their opinions must be considered before suggesting a change.
Once they state how they feel about a certain subject, it increases the likelihood of them being interested in discussing the topic, as well as the chances of them opening up their mind to other logical explanations. Hence, when convincing a senior citizen to pursue a behavioral change, patience, perseverance, and rationalization are very important.
Saraf Nawar Ahmed
Pursuing Bachelor Degree in Brac University, Bangladesh