Forage Societies and the Elderly Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  598 Words
Date:  2022-05-26

The societies in the world have different opinions on the role of the elderly. Some believe that the old are supposed to entirely issue guidance and advice to the younger people on political and social issues. On the other hand, there are some whose members believe that the elderly may perform other roles such as performing lighter duties. Regardless of these opinions, as Scupin et al. (2016) put it, the elderly are treated with respect in all communities around the world. As such, this essay looks at how forage communities treat the elderly and compare it to the society I grew up.

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In the foraging societies, the elderly are treated with respect and hold higher statuses than the younger people (Scupin et al., 2016). Even though they cannot hunt or gather, younger people appreciate the elders for the amount of knowledge they have in dealing with the day-to-day problems faced in the society such as marriage problems, education, and homelessness (Scupin et al., 2016). Earlier, there were studies which highlighted that older person in the foraging societies hold low status in the community due to their inability to provide the needed power for hunting and gathering (Scupin et al., 2016). However, more recently, other theorists have held different opinions from that of their earlier counterparts. They believe that the status of older people in the society does not change. According to Scupin et al. (2016), older individuals are honored by the younger generation due to their rich understanding of their societies' culture. For instance, among the Mbuti, elders are given the honor of making political decisions for the group (Scupin et al., 2016).

Compared to the past, there are no variations in the role of the elderly in the society today. Just as in the past, elders in the present day still hold their place of issuing critical advice to the community. Recent research shows that elders are conferred with the responsibility of ensuring economic and political success in the society thereby dominating the society (Scupin, 2016). Moreover, owing to the low material possession in these societies, it gives the society a uniform culture and the elderly have a secure existence amongst the people. Whereas the younger bracket may be seen to have a higher status in foraging societies, the older have accumulated knowledge in pillars that hold together the community such as spiritual guidance and intellectual support. (Scupin, 2016) shows that cultural preservation is vested in the elderly people and transmission of these values provides a sense of respect.

In the society I grew in, the elderly are treated with love and respect. These individuals receive care from their children and grandchildren, and the society as a whole. Many in the community often consult them whenever they need some advice on issues they face in their lives. Even though they have very little to offer regarding manpower, the society has always respected their opinion on how to do specific tasks and achieve better results. As a result, the elderly have never felt isolated due to their age.


In conclusion, the forage societies treat their elderly with respect. This conclusion comes from the fact that these societies depend on these individuals for all the political and social advice needed. This is the same case as that of the community I grew up in and many others around the world. Because of this, it is imperative to conclude that the elderly hold high statuses in most of the communities around the world.


Scupin, R., & DeCorse, C. R. (2016). Anthropology: A global perspective. Pearson Education.

Simmons, L. W. (1945). The role of the aged in primitive society.

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