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The changing lifestyle leaves elderly people wondering about the relevance of some aspects of the new generation’s lifestyle. Saudi Arabia still has strong attachments to its traditions, which are dictated by their Muslim religion. This is the main reason why families still value the opinions of the elderly, especially their contribution to the lives of the younger generation. Despite this importance, the younger generation is slowly losing their interest in elderly people’s point of view. This may be attributed to diversity, education, integration of cultures, and the influence of technology on how the younger generation perceives issues. These contradicting views between the younger generation, their parents, and their grandparents lead to questions regarding the influence and relevance of the elderly participants in the upbringing of their grandchildren. A focus on the possibility of a peaceful co-existence between these two-generation leads to this paper’s research question: what is the perception of the Saudi Arabian elderly on the new generation?
There has been limited research on the elderly Saudi Arabians in the Middle East. My search is focused on the EBSCO’s database on the perception of the Saudi Arabian elderly on the new generation.
Keywords: Arab Elderly, New Generation and Perspectives
Search results; twenty-eight journal articles, mostly related to the health and medical issues that affect the elderly. The article, most relevant to my research, was “the Co-Residence of Elderly people with their children and grandchildren” by Postigo & Honrubia (2010).
The authors undertook a research study involving four hundred and fourteen people from three Arabian generations. The article focused on the living patterns in Western societies. The studies sought to find the possibility of a peaceful residence between the three generations as it becomes a reality that the elderly generation needs to live with their families. This need has arisen due to the increase in life expectancy. The studies also touched on the lives and perspectives of participants, with emphasis on the relationships between the three generations. Finally, the article looked into the perceived difficulties faced by each generation when living with the younger or older generation (Olson, 2001).
The generational difference provided the existing issues between the two extreme generations: the elderly and the new generation. There were several slight differences between children and their parents. For example, the parents of the new generation could easily understand and relate to the difficulties that the new generation faced, therefore accepting some of their views and lifestyle. This was a similar case with the parents of the new generation and the grandparents. In a general view, all the three generations recognized the importance of the other. The article’s findings reported a generally positive relationship among the three generations. The positive perspective is that all the three generations found relevance in the contribution of grandparents to the upbringing of the new generation. The Saudi elderly strongly agreed that the new generation needed their help and opinions in their lives. The negative beliefs identified in the study revolved around the availability of living space (Postigo & Honrubia, 2010).
There has been an insufficient research on the relationship between the elderly and the new generations, especially on the problems they face in their attempt to co-exist. The little research conducted focuses on the medical challenges that the elderly face. Future research should emphasize on the value of establishing good relationships between children and grandchildren, and ways of facilitating a peaceful co-existence between the two groups (Gause, 2011).
Unlike the situation in other countries and continents, people of the Middle East still have strong attachments to their traditions and religious teachings. These traditions and religious teachings still play major roles in ensuring that the younger generations follow the appropriate societal behavior. Because of this, there are slight differences in the social perspectives of the elderly and the younger generation. The younger generations still relate with the ideologies of the elderly and the elderly find it easy to communicate with their grandchildren. Their problems revolve around the availability of living space.
Gause, F. G. (2011). Saudi Arabia in the new Middle East. New York: Council on Foreign Relations.
Olson, L. K. (2001). Age through ethnic lenses: caring for the elderly in a multicultural society. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Postigo & Honrubia (2010). The Co-Residence of Elderly People with Their Children and Grandchildren. Educational Gerontology, 36, 330-349