Is it the nature of elderly people to live in the past?

It is my observation that the elderly people i know tend to “live in” his or her time of youth. My grandfather spends all of his free time reading books about a war (of which he is a veteran), watching the history channel on that or similar subjects, and listening to music from his era.

I of course am in no way insulting the tastes or lifestyles of older generations as i believe they are sadly mistreated in our culture…but my question is when does the intrests of someone conflict with the current tastes of the world? Is it really a case of humans becoming “set in their ways” in old age and refusing to budge? Is it simply comforting in a new world they may not understand? Will my generation be living in the 1990’s- Early 2000’s 60 years from now?

Oh silly me…the topic should read “is it the nature of elderly people to LIVE in the past”…let us move on and not dwell on it please.

I don’t think that’s necessarily so. My grandfather follows geology periodicals and Smithsonian and National Geographic to learn about new developments in the world. He’s on his third PC computer and his second color printer and his first digital camera. He and my grandmother even sent off for some books that were advertised on Oprah. My grandmother got the video for Finding Nemo as a Christmas present.

My grandfather was born in 1918, my grandmother in 1917.

It’s true that they both bear the indelible mark of the years when they grew up, but I think some people adapt somewhat to learn about the changing world. They may not adapt their values but older people don’t always close themselves off from change, either.

I will probably continue to play Janis Joplin, Beatles, Led Zepplin, etc. until I die simply because I think they are still the best of the best. If some new group came along that came close, I wouldn’t hesistate to buy their music.

I watch Casablanca, Citizen Kane and Gone With The Wind as often as they show up on television - films long before my time, but classics. I will, however, probably also be watching LOTR as often as possible.

I think with age you see what is “flash in the pan” fashion versus what can pass the test of time. I am sure there is some kid out there who thinks Britney Spears is the best singer in the world and considers Dude, Where’s My Car a masterpiece. His grandchildren will scratch their heads when he is watching it on his hologram machine.

Regarding your grandfather reading books about the war…don’t be surprised if in 40 years you are glued to your television watching some previously unseen footage of 9/11 while your grandkids chuckle at grandpa living in the past.

That’s the reason I hang around this place so much. It reminds me so much of the good old 40’s and 50’s. :wink:

I think it’s hard to have the energy after a while to find all the new stuff. Finding new cool music is mostly too hard for me now. I just can’t get enthused enough. Plus, your tastes are shaped a certain way, and you mostly just want variations on what you know.

I think it’s true that after 30 or so (or even before) you can spot a lot of the NKOTB-style trash right away.

You’re referencing New Kids on the Block as an example of teenaged trash now? My god your so old :smiley: !

Wait a minute. I immediatly new what NKOTB stood for…my god I’m so old :frowning: .

I mention them because their time is so clearly over, whereas Britney and Backstreet Boys and N’Sync are still around. Oh, their time will come. It will come. I can’t see any of their stuff lasting except as a nostalgia trip for the office workers of 20 years from now. Madonna has managed to have some sort of critical respect, but she’s not U2 or something.

My 86 year old Grandfather tells me off for living in the past. He doesn’t watch a lot of old movies because he doesn’t understand why anyone would watch any movie more than once, but he does enjoy documentaries about the war, and books on a lot of historical subject. He also enjoys the football. He watches some of the news, but his hearing - even with his hearing aid, if you can get him to use it - is poor, and his comprehension is getting really bad. He doesn’t waste his time on old photos or reminising about the past. He tries to live in the now, which is pretty sad because now is not a good time in his life. He’s old, he’s unwell and he’s unhappy.

I’m 26 and I watch lots of WW2 stuff, old movies, and listen to swing music. More so than modern-day stuff.

This is because 95% of movies suck and Britney Spears is what passes for “music” these days.

WW2 is fascinating because:

  1. that generation saved the world, literally
  2. there will never be a greater generation than them
  3. that was the last time Americans will EVER pull together again.

In a lot of ways the America of the WW2 years was a better nation than what we have now.

Oh, the Boomers could have turned out better than their parents, but they didn’t. And my generation is solidly split: half of us are even worse than the Boomers and the other half seem to be “rebelling” and acting more like our grandparent’s generation. Only God knows which side will end up controlling the country someday and God help us if it’s the former.

So yeah. I’m right there with the 80 year olds watching The History Channel.

Jeez, I dunno. I’ve just recently turned 50, and I’ve been noticing that there isn’t that much “new stuff” that I find all that attractive. For one thing, the hype’s just so fierce now. Five years ago I was all into deep house, and I still am, but lately I’ve been buying classics that I grew up with – Velvet Underground, old Bowie, and so on. And I kind of miss the vitality I had twenty or so years ago, as well as a fair number of people who’ve died since then.

So, going by my recent feelings, I can guess that maybe it *is[/] in the nature of many older people to spend time with things that bring to mind days when they had maybe less of the weight of the world to bear. For a more conclusive answer, though, check in with me in about thirty years. :smiley:

You don’t have to be old to live in the past. I know some 30-year-olds who won’t let go of their highschool years. (Creepily enough, some of them hang out with highschool kids!)

You really have to make an effort not to get stuck in the “nostalgia trap”. When I was a callow lass, I always swore I’d never be one of those losers so mired in the past, they never listen to anything new. Not me. I’d always be hip and up-to-date on new trends, fashion, and music.

Yeah, right. I still keep current but it takes work. I find myself enjoying 80’s music, even if it’s a song I detested in the actual 80’s. I was soooooo happy when pointy toed shoes came back into style 'cause I loved 'em in high school. And I’ve never fully embraced boot cut jeans.

Anwya, what I’m trying to say is that your teenage and young adult are hugely influential. I think your tastes get somewhat “set” then. And it’s very easy to just keep listening to what you’ve always like and not make an effort to try new things.d

Focusing on the music…
There was a point in my life when I decided that most good music stopped being made around 1988. I was 14 in 1988.

I kind of stayed that way until the late 90’s/early 2000’s when groups like Garbage, Filter, and Godsmack came out and I started to enjoy music again. I’ve even started to like pop music more (I ignored artists like Prince and Duran Duran in the 80’s). And, recently, I thought about the fact that I’m 31 and my favorite music is still from the 80’s.

I’m trying to make an effort to listen to more modern music, so that I don’t get set in my ways, but it’s hard, mainly, because for my tastes, there’s a lot of crap out there, or music that’s OK, but not stuff I’m into. Except for Sorry Miss Jackson I don’t like Outcast because I’m not really into rap/hip hop or R&B. I don’t like Blink182 or any other pop-punk bands, but I do like the Offspring. Well, OK, they’re hit or miss. About half their songs I like, the other half I hate. And New metal? Bleeaahhhh.

OK, I’ll end this rambling post and say that I don’t want to be set in my ways, but when it’s hard to find new songs you like (like FRANZ FERDINAND - Take Me Out), it’s kind of difficult not to.

Repaired title for you.

I’m kind of a retro guy…I like movies from the 1930’s-1950’s…“film noir” is my bag. Most of the movies made after about 1970 don’t interest me a whole lot. To me, the clothes of the 1930’s were the best! I alsolike 30’s gangster-type limos.
The really weird thing is, I love MODERN ARCHITECTURE (if you consider 30’s art-deco to be modern)…in many ways, we are LESS modern than the deco freaks of the 1930’s…I can just imagine what my desktop PC would look like if raymond Lowey had designed it!
What always shocks me…if we Americans had followed Frank llloyd Wright, we’d be living in modern houses today! instead, we are stuck with hopelessly backward reproductions of designs from the 1600’s! Think about it…I’m living in a house that looks like it was built in the reign of Queen Anne! Complete with useless things like a brick fireplace, and tiny little windows (glass was expensive in 1820!).

Ah, it was funnier the other way. Best title typo I’ve seen in months.

In answer to the OP, remember elderly people have more of a past to live in. Everybody talks about things they lived through.

My grandmother certainly lives in the past to a certain extent, but not in the sense of being obsessed with WWII or other world events. She greatly prefers listening to classical music, and has done so for years. The way in which she lives in the past is in her perception of herself. She’s a great walker, she is a good stern person (paddling a canoe). She is very stubborn and one must be very diplomatic to get her to sit in the canoe in the middle, which makes more sense when she is canoeing with my parents- who are close to double her weight, and have some arm strength to go with it. Also, she only paddles about one stroke per minute. She remembers her climb up Mount Kilamenjaro(sp?) as if it were yesterday, rather than twenty years ago, when she was in her sixties. It is truly sad to see people listen to her claims and make eye contact with her companions to check whether she is delusional. She is very set in her ways and her memory is definitely failing her.

While the details may be unique to this grandmother, the general pattern is not unique.

I’ve thought about this a lot. My b/f seems to be “stuck” music wise, to the point where he sometimes reminds me of a parent if I have current music going, “Can you turn that crap down, it’s just a bunch of screaming.” I think it sneaks up on people. All that free time and free money from a high schooler, transformed into money spent on the latest music, movies, clothing.

That free time and free money become a lot smaller to nonexistent, without parents to pay bills, kids, general errand running, etc. So you didn’t buy that latest cd you like and when you finally found the spare cash, the band had a new cd out or splintered into an entirely new group of bands. I think priorities really change, for a lot of people.

I’ve kept up with music and clothing, but the last movie I saw in the theater was that horrible one with Sean Connery (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I think). I know I’ve missed out on some great movies, I remember really wanting to see Kill Bill and jeez, The Panic Room from how long ago? I’ve fallen so far behind, I can’t remember probably half of the movies I really wanted to see. When I find I have the time, I realize I’d rather spend my money on purchasing Season II of Six Feet Under, rather than a trip to the local theater. It compounds, and I am now hopelessy lame in my current movie knowledge.

The last part I think is, a good dose of “honestly don’t care.” I grew up to Madonna and her shocking belly button and big dick song, so Ms. Spears doesn’t really seem like much if anything to get excited about. Platform shoes, didn’t like 'em the first time. YMMV

Ah, the music thing. Well, I don’t have that to worry about. I’ve never really listened to “current” music all that much. Ever. When I was 10 years old my friends were ragging on me for “not giving popular music a chance.” So do you think I’m going to start giving it a chance now? Hell no. (I listen to mostly Classical and classical-esque stuff, with a very occasional popular piece slipping through the cracks.)

I’ll never have to worry about being out of fashion in my musical tastes. I never was in fashion, and never had a desire to be.

As far as what movies I watch, I’ve always been retro. Was fascinated with '50s Western TV when I was a kid, and still have a fondness for it. I like the old movies from the '30s on up. (Well, '20s too.) Gary Cooper is a dreamboat.

But I like contemporary movies and TV as well. (Hooked on Stargate, Farscape, etc.)

My mom tends to like the old movies too (but more of them are from her generation), but it’s nice, because it’s something we have in common. It’s fun to watch old movies with her. And as far as what kind of music she listens to—well, where do you think I got my love for Classical music from? Her and my dad, of course. So she’s never been one for listening to “popular” music, of any era.

My sisters have similar attitudes about music, and to a certain extent, about movies. But I think I’m the most fervent old movie buff.