Old People and Children
Today I had the experience of walking an old woman to a supermarket, and it got me thinking about the way in which the old people are treated in places such as Australia and United States. Many of them get locked up in nursing homes where they are frequently subject to regimented routines, shortage of outside contact and even, in some cases, violence. I have come to the conclusion that this is bad not only for old people but also for everyone else.
Older people have a lifetime of experience and knowledge. This makes them logically well suited to helping their sons and daughters to raise the kids. In the more family-oriented societies such as Russia and India, it is very common for grandparents to live with their children and be involved significantly in the raising of grandchildren. And in those countries the teenagers generally have less problems than they do here. Not only is private and taxpayer money saved on accommodations, but the seniors have a meaningful existence where they are doing something that benefits their families - something from which their grandchildren benefit greatly as well.
Older people and children or teenagers are a logical mix. The older people give wisdom and guidance to the kids; the kids give the older people legacy. In both cases this is exactly what's needed. Young people need wisdom and guidance, and older people want legacy. Put them in the same household, and they provide to one another what one another needs.
Another benefit is that the older people, having already been parents, can help provide guidance for the first-time parents that are their sons and daughters. Most first-time parents do not know what they are doing, and it's useful for them to have a guidance from people who've already been parents. There are parenting classes and there are child psychologists; but resources expended on such things can be economized through an involvement of grandparents in children's lives. Parenting classes and child psychologists can still exist; but there will also be home-grown knowledge being transmitted for free.
The nursing home arrangement wastes money, but more importantly it wastes wisdom and lives. There is not much that the old people living in nursing homes have to offer one another; but there are tons of things that they have to offer the children. The more the contact between old people and kids growing up, the better it is for both parties. And the better as a result is life in the countries where this takes place.