Not everyone is always in a hurry

Let’s face it, the elderly population has two things going against it when it comes to speed.

We live in a fast-paced world and that rate seems to be picking up with each new technological innovation.

As a result, we have a tendency to be in a hurry all the time and expect others to do the same.

This causes a problem when it comes to the elderly.

Let’s face it, the elderly population has two things going against it when it comes to speed.

The first is the fact that this generation did not grow up with much technology.

As a result, most technology is new to them, and with shortened memories, can tend to be a learning experience almost every time it is used. Debit cards, ATM machines, self-checkout counters, gas pumps, all pose a series of steps that require reading and use of various code numbers.

And while there are similarities in systems, there are also subtle differences that can create confusion.

The line-up can build quickly behind them.

A second issue related to speed is the general slowing down, both physically and mentally that occurs with aging.

There are both physiological (the body does tend to shift gears downwards), and psychological (‘There’s no rush – I’ve got all day’) components to this process of taking longer to do just about anything.

And while that can be a little frustrating to both the elderly and those around them, it is what it is, a natural progression towards less mobility.

I have watched motorists vent their frustration on their car horns.

I have watched people in a line-up roll their eyes as a process unfolds slowly before them.

I have heard people speak sharply to the elderly, creating even more anxiety and confusion.

In a world where everyone seems to want instantaneous response and no waiting time, following an elderly person can be a frustrating experience.

But it goes both ways.

Many of the elderly are just as sensitive to holding up others as the others are to being held up.

They often feel anxious in crowds and line-ups and are overwhelmed by the many activities taking place around them.

That pressure results in both mental confusion and even rushing a bit, putting themselves at risk for falls.

For many, the added tension reduces their willingness to go out at all, resulting in a tendency to prefer staying at home, shut in but safe.

As the elderly population increases in size, and the tendency for automation makes us all even more anxious to get things done right away, I can see greater opportunity for conflict and distress.

I am hopeful that, at some point, automation will actually reduce the need for memory skills, while still providing a high level of security (retinal scans?), and that retail organizations will find ways to accommodate the elderly with a different level of service than young people might expect, perhaps something more relaxed and helpful.

What we don’t want are elderly people afraid to leave their house for fear of upsetting someone else or simply not being able to cope with the challenges of taking care of their own business.


Graham Hookey writes on education, parenting and eldercare (

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media files)
Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie Seniors Network keeps elders informed on how to vote

Rides to polling stations hard to come by, but many long term care homes have stations set up within

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows candidates engaged in an online debate on the environment. (Facebook)
Parties promise improvements to Golden Ears Park

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows candidates debate environmental issues

If you didn’t vote by mail, or at the advance polls, we hope you get out Saturday to cast your ballot in the 2020 provincial election. (Black Press Media files)
OUR VIEWS: Get out (or not) to vote

The B.C. election is happening on Saturday, Oct. 24. Please make sure to cast your ballot.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows’ NDP incumbent Lisa Beare, believes Reese Witherspoon – seen here in the series “The Morning Show,” could best play her on the big screen. (Special to The News Apple TV+/TNS)
Maple Ridge candidates cast themselves in dramatic comedies

ELECTION LEVITY: MLA hopefuls reveal who should play them on the silver screen

The Jolly Coachman Pub in Pitt Meadows will be closed until Oct. 30 due to a case of COVID-19. (Google)
Pitt Meadows pub stays closed after COVID-19 case

Fraser Health advises patrons to self monitor for symptoms

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read