Old People and Babies: What's the Difference?

Essay by atapperCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2004

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It is ironic how two groups of people separated by 70 years, or more, can be so alike. As people age, they often take on the characteristics of dependent children. Their ability to care for themselves diminishes dramatically to the point that they resemble the helpless babies they once were.

The most obvious similarity between old people and babies is that they need the care and intervention of others. They may depend upon someone for something as simple as moving from place to place. Many elderly and infants can not walk without assistance. A person weak with age may sit in a wheelchair all day and require others to push them because they are unable to turn the wheels themselves. Obviously, some old people are more "fortunate" than others because they only need their cane or walker. But, even these people may still require someone at their side in the event their legs tire or they run short of breath.

Similarly, babies can not go far by themselves. Babies are dependent on their parents to push them in strollers or carry them in their arms. When infants grow, they begin to crawl. But, crawling is as inefficient, due to the slow pace, as a "fortunate" older person stumbling along with their cane. It is as if the two groups cross each other's path; One is on the way to improvement, and the other is on the ultimate downward spiral to their demise.

Perhaps the way these diverse people move from place to place is not their most obvious similarity. When comparing a baby to an old person it is impossible to ignore their distinct aromas. Elderly people simply don't let others forget their presence, as they remind those in their vicinity of the pungent odors of age. Although the old...