Social Question

jca's avatar

Do you find that older people are more likely to accept suffering and inconvenience in their lives, and can you explain your reasoning?

Asked by jca (35976points) November 3rd, 2012

I got a ranting email from a coworker who is about 20 years older than I am, and it was concerning my leaving my home in the hurricane and my parents willingness to stay put (for 5 days until they decided that a house that’s colder than the outdoors is not a house they wanted to stay in, so they joined me at a resort two states to the north). He said that the older generations blah blah blah, and the problem with us young people is that blah blah blah. (more about that rant in another Q).

Do you find that older people are more likely to accept suffering and inconvenience? Can you explain your reasoning?

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19 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Not at all. Older people tend to rant and rave more about “their suffering” and play the martyr card more. Screw it, I’m going somewhere with power.

MissCindy's avatar

First off, the older co-worker should not have been upset, if you decided to leave because of the huricane, and having your parents deciding to go with you. Most likely, the coworker was upset because they may have not been able to leave because of their position or finances, and they choose to take it out on you. I have found that when people get older, they tend to take less crap, and do not like being inconvenienced. They also suffer more pain and this makes them kind of sour as well. I guess, if you hurt when it rains, or when the weather is cold, or you feel like your family is taking advantage of you, you make rant and rave about little stuff too!

Jeruba's avatar

I couldn’t generalize like that. I’d have to say some are and some aren’t.

I don’t find that this tendency varies with age but more with circumstances and personality. It might also be a matter of priorities; there are plenty of things that could come ahead of comfort and convenience for someone, and an older person’s sense of what’s important might be very different from that of the person’s younger counterparts.

I think my husband and I are much more likely to put up with pain than we were when we were younger because it’s just a way of life now. To a great extent I simply filter it out or work around it. As a much younger person I would have been acutely aware of it because it was unusual.

Anyone who is dependent on someone else for care may well be afraid of antagonizing the caregiver and may therefore refrain from complaining even when there is a legitimate cause. This might be especially true of older people if they feel helpless and at someone else’s mercy.

But some older people can be relentlessly crabby and demanding. And so can some young folks.

marinelife's avatar

No. There is nothing generational about it or age related.

ETpro's avatar

I can’t comment on all us old farts, because I haven’t taken a survey. I can just say I think I stand up to abuse, disrespect and pain pretty well because I’ve simply had years of practice.

SpatzieLover's avatar

As people age, their personalities and traits tend to become more concentrated and much less flexible. I have found with elderly relatives & friends that most are less likely to choose change over constant. No matter if the change may save their life, boost their comfort level, or just be fun…constant it is.

In this case, even though a storm was coming, they chose to stay in their constant (their home, with their stuff, their bed) as they probably were thinking they’d be most content in their own home.

You never really know, does the idea of change cause anxiety, would going to stay with relatives a state over where the storm wasn’t predicted to be as bad cause them undue stress??? Who knows.

ucme's avatar

In my experience older folks tend to be far more pessimistic about life in general, miserable old git syndrome you could say.

Jeruba's avatar

@ucme, would you say that you do or don’t know any young people who fit that description? And do you think those older folks got pessimistic after they got old—or have they been like that all along? If you just sample a population at any age without comparing the findings to the same group at another age, how do you know which factor accounts for the results?

I know plenty of cheery, active elderly people who simply couldn’t wear that label. It seems to me that those who’ve been positive and engaged all along still are, and those who were defeatist grumps and crabby whiners back when still are too. That’s why I say it’s not age-related.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ucme – it’s the young ones who go around moaning and groaning, not to mention blaming, the current state of affairs, the oldies just get on with trying to rectify it or survive it. Although I must admit I do enjoy a good rant about the lazy good for nothing kids of today, now and again!

ucme's avatar

@Jeruba Forgive me, there was no intent to pigeon hole the elderly as entirely down/defeatist, for sure there are a fair share of “bright young things” who seem to carry the weight of the world on their fragile shoulders.
No, I was merely giving in an insight into the, admittedly few, old folk I happen to stumble across in my everyday life, maybe it’s a British thing, I don’t know.
@rooeytoo See above :¬)

Jeruba's avatar

No apology necessary, @ucme—I was just looking for another data point or two in your reported experience to see if there was room for another conclusion. For my part, I find that very few such global generalizations hold up once you ask a few questions.

Some people are perfectly willing to extrapolate to an entire population from a sample of one or two. I was pretty sure you knew better than to do that.

ucme's avatar

While an apolgy was not incumbent upon me @Jeruba, I do feel that a little courtesy can go a long way…..listen to me flirting ;¬}
Oh & you’re right, I do know better.

Jeruba's avatar

Thank you for your courtesy, @ucme. On the other hand, and just because I’m a bit contrary that way, now I’m going to make a point for the opposite case.

I remember something my late mother said to me when I was fourteen and she was about forty. Because she had many older relatives and grew up in an extended household that included both grandmothers, she took a particular interest in geriatric issues. She told me that many older people grow very cantankerous, petulant, and demanding, probably because they’re uncomfortable and frustrated and feel a little helpless. She said she never wanted to be like that. And she made me promise right then that if she ever got like that when she was old, I was to tell her so.

And you know, when she got into her eighties, she did get like that, and I remembered my promise, but I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she’d turned into one of them. To this day I’m not sure if I was right or wrong to put it off until it was too late.

I just hope I don’t. So I kind of try to practice optimism and restraint now so I’ll be pretty good at it by the time I’m a geriatric case.

ucme's avatar

That’s a touching story, one I recognise from my own mother & it’s a credit to you both.
It’s a well worn phrase I hear all too often, “when i’m old i’m going to be a bad tempered bugger”
It’s almost as if these people look forward with relish to a openly hostile persona in their senior years, simply by virtue of being old.

rooeytoo's avatar

Actually my personality has not changed much since I was in my 20’s. I have always enjoyed bucking the system and being a rebel not to mention being a bit cantankerous. At least that is what it is smilingly called when one is young. I am still the same but when you are older they have different names for it.

@ucme – how is it that you have 2 different avatars at the same time???

ucme's avatar

@rooeytoo I do? I just changed to this delightful image of Obama…....

Brian1946's avatar


@ucme – how is it that you have 2 different avatars at the same time???

I’ve seen analogous discrepancies involving different total lurve counts for the same jelly.

Try reloading this page.

rooeytoo's avatar

They all match now, but for a while there, @ucme had a split personality!

MissCindy's avatar

I really think the way an older person acts, is based on varable factors surrounding the individual. Some who are not around younger children, may find it hard to torrerate the children. Some of us who are exposed to younger children day in and day out, are very pleasant to be around when young children are around. My life is dedicated to watching grandchildren, helping husband with his back injury, work and school. I may be with the kids all day, he spends two hours with them
and all he wants to do is leave the room. He can’t lift them, it hurts his back. The back pain increases in cold weather and also gives him headaches. So, he is one of those who might seem grouchy and cantankerous. But on a warm day, he plays with the kids, reads to them and takes them fishing. On these days, he may seem a happy and loving Papa. Don’t be so hard on the older grumpy people, as we do not know what circumstanses may be involved.

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