Do seniors excel in any areas?

Are there any areas of life that seniors seem to excel in. It might be industry, sales, politics, science, teaching, anything at all that might come to mind.


being old fashioned.

What do you mean, after they have decreased memory abilities or have lost some kind of functionality?

I simply mean, are there any areas of life where seniors perform consistently better than their younger counter parts for whatever reason. Lets say healthy seniors over age 60.



Seniors are certainly vastly overrepresented in politics to an extent that really has no equivalence in any other field I can think of. Most people seem to think nothing is unusual about Hilary Clinton being a candidate for President at an age most companies would force you to retire.

I don’t see why they wouldn’t excel at the same things unless they had some kind of deficiency.

Speculation here (or, as Dave Barry said, “According to some statistics that I recently made up…”), but those talents, skills, and abilities that improve with experience may place older practitioners in a position of doing some things better than their younger peers. Teaching and medicine are two that come to mind.

I would certainly agree with the medical aspect here.

I have had dental procedures done by young and old dentists. The young guys didn’t have a chance.

The older dentists were incredibly precise and I hardly noticed the procedure!

Lifetime achievement

Being a Supreme Court Justice.

I would disagree with teaching and medicine. Very few people systematically keep up with new research (it’s called continuing education).

My background is a truck mechanic. The older guys in the shop some of them well up into their 70’s were by far more experienced at handling the odd situations that may come up. But this is based more on experience than some actual attribute that might come with age.

The first thing that pops into my mind is that less testosterone may lead to better judgement overall.

In my experience, many older doctors continue to read the journals, but they also learn huge amounts from their own practice, experience which is of immeasurable importance. Also from my experience, educational research is very often descriptive and theoretical, and of limited value to the practitioner. You learn how to be a teacher by teaching. In general, the more you do it, the better you get at it.

If we are comparing to people who are much younger, lack of historical perspective may come into play for some things. Most people don’t have much of it until they are in their 40s, simply because they haven’t lived through enough major historical events. Current young adults don’t personally remember the breakup of the Soviet Union, for instance - they were children, or possibly not even born yet at the time. The best age group in this regard may be the middle-aged, though, rather than seniors, who may be TOO dominated by history. I suppose this factor may be a reason for wanting some amount of age in our political leaders.

They’re better than young people at grandparenting. :wink:

But seriously. An old person has been through some shit. Older folks make excellent storytellers because they have more life experience. Retired people have more time to spend around the house, so they make great animal caretakers. Old women, as a group, can provide great general childrearing advice because the majority of them have raised kids (many of whom’ve raised kids of their *own *by now). Most of the elderly, I’ve noticed, are also great at providing informal grief counseling.

Of course, there are outliers in all these catgories. Not everyone in a demographic is good at any one thing. But in general, I’d expect people to do better than young people at things that improve based on life experience while not requiring twitch reflexes.

Experience IS the attribute that comes with age.

In my limited experience, older doctors are WAY better at diagnosis than the younger ones, due to having much more experience, and in some cases because their training back in the day didn’t rely as much on CAT scans, etc…

But they’re not always as up to date on the drugs and treatment procedures as the younger guys are, unless they go out of their way to keep current.

Beyond that, most old folks can beat my ass wholesale at things like cards and dominoes. There’s definitely an experience component there.

Right. Is the thinking here that there may be some things that one simply becomes better at by virtue of being old? Because any real advantages of old age I can think of come from experience which you get by living and doing for a long time. I guess higher voter turnout, greying hair, and hip fractures might be exceptions to this.