Respecting a person’s age has been traditional practice in many cultures. That is slowly changing as more rational thinking is taking over resulting in older people being less respected. Respect is lost when anyone becomes a dependent on others for their physical and financial survival. Older people generally become less self reliant and vulnerable as they age, in many western countries they are left to fend for themselves in old age homes or communities for seniors. In Asian cultures, they live with their families often with children and grand children.
There are many other reasons why seniors are not always shown respect. Firstly, there is a generational gap in understanding and using technology and current issues. Secondly, there is also a huge shift in social attitudes towards many personal issues which are alien to older people. Thirdly, older people are seen as a liability in some situations. If the elderly people are ill treated then that behavior could be adopted by the young and cause many problems for the society. Disrespect in general could lead to violence, disharmony and a negative atmosphere in the society. Accepting old age as a reality that everybody has to face at some time is a good way to begin caring for older people. In Buddhist countries like Thailand, the elderly folk are always respected and taken care of.
To conclude, there is an erosion of respect for the elderly but there is also a care structure that is coming up. Age alone should not be a cause for concern or undue respect. Everybody should be accepted the way they are irrespective of their condition.