Old Age

Elderly
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“…you [Marjorie Pay Hinckley] stand as a worthy role model for those who are still struggling to find the right balance in life. May they listen when you declare how great it is to be eighty years of age because you can look back on a life filled with accomplishment, growth, understanding, faith, support, and fulfillment. You have said:
 
“ ‘Contrary to rumor, these are golden years, if you have a measure of good health. At this age, my dear contemporaries, we no longer have to compete with anyone. We don’t have to prove anything—we just have to enjoy it all. How many of you have told your children how wonderful it is to be this age?’… ”
 
“Sister Hinckley, you are a wonderful example to all of us.”
 
L. Tom Perry, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
An Elect Lady,” April 1995 General Conference

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“Many different circumstances and factors affect the quality of a person’s life in the later years. But there is a corollary between preparing for old age and enjoying it when it comes. We are told in the Doctrine and Covenants: ‘If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.’ (D&C 38:30.)

“May I suggest a few preparations?

“First, we can begin now to develop good attitudes toward the later years. We can learn to respect the wisdom, experience, and value of older people. We can strengthen our family ties and appreciate the assets of many generations in a family: the children, youth, adults—including the elderly.

“With careful planning, a family can have loving, rewarding experiences in caring for its elderly members. There is no better way to teach children respect for the elderly and the need for everyone to prepare for that time in life than by helping to care for their older relatives.

“Second, we can practice the principles of financial preparedness by living within our means and saving for the time when our earnings cease.

“Third, we can make service to others a lifetime habit; the older years may bring even more time for service as the hours once devoted to earning a livelihood or rearing a family can be used to enrich the lives of others through church and community service.

“We can also enrich our own lives by learning new skills after our full-time occupation has relaxed its demands. Learning should be a lifetime pursuit.

“Finally, good health practices pay important dividends in later years. Our physical health can be enhanced when we keep the Word of Wisdom, eat a well-balanced diet every day, practice good dental hygiene, control weight, get adequate sleep and rest, maintain a physical fitness program, and adhere to medical procedures which insure a healthy life.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
In the Time of Old Age,” April 1978 General Conference

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“Some who reach retirement age seem to feel, ‘I’ve done my share. Now it’s someone else’s turn.’ But withdrawal, according to gerontologists and others who work with the aging, can actually hasten the aging process.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
In the Time of Old Age,” April 1978 General Conference

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“Priesthood and Relief Society leaders must be aware of the great potential of those…who are in their later years and can give useful service. Besides the traditional assignments for the elderly, we suggest substitute-grandparenting; teaching in mini-classes such skills as knitting, crocheting, gardening, breadmaking, and quilting, or other skills which younger women often need to learn. They might read to the visually handicapped, compile family and ward histories, write letters for those who need such help, or teach those who wish to learn to read or write.

“A wonderful world of service may emerge for those with time and skills to offer!”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
In the Time of Old Age,” April 1978 General Conference

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“So far, I have been speaking about the independent elderly, but there are many aged people who are dependent. Some are partially bedridden; others are senile or physically incapacitated. These older people must not be neglected. Some may be adequately cared for in their own homes with the aid of such services as meals brought in to them each day, housekeeping, shopping, out-patient medical services, and a daily telephone check, while other older people need twenty-four-hour care and attention. Often, even though families give this loving care to the elderly, they and the elderly need supportive services from others.

“Relief Society and priesthood leaders should be particularly aware of the needs of these families and their elderly members.

“The dependent elderly need the kindness and the attention of loving friends and visiting and home teachers. A busy mother in a home may need a few hours’ respite from the constant care of an older person, just as a young mother does from the constant care of young children. Relief Society Assigned Compassionate Service could be a natural response to this need.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
In the Time of Old Age,” April 1978 General Conference

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“When the time of old age comes upon us—and it surely will, for ‘swiftly fly the years,’ as the song says—we need to come to that time with a courage born of faith and of preparation. Underlying all we do for ourselves and for our own, we must remember the aged with the compassionate spirit of Christ in whose work we are engaged.

“May the cry of the psalmist ring in our hearts: ‘Cast me not off in the time of old age; Forsake me not when my strength faileth.’ (Ps. 71:9.)”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
In the Time of Old Age,” April 1978 General Conference

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“I recently heard of a ward in which there were seventy sisters over seventy years of age. Their wise Relief Society president felt that even those who were homebound could serve, and so she gave each of the seventy sisters either a visiting teaching assignment or a compassionate service assignment. Even a sister stricken with a terminal disease was assigned to write a monthly letter to each of three sisters who were homebound. Some sisters were assigned to call other sisters each day to make sure they were all right.

“One sister continued to serve as a visiting teacher supervisor when she was ill and homebound. Her Relief Society president reported that, with much effort, this sister put on one of her prettiest dresses before doing the telephoning each month, feeling that this act gave her service importance and dignity as she filled this assignment for the Lord.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
She Stretcheth Out Her Hand to the Poor,” October 1977 General Conference

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