In many cultures old age has been seen as a decline of health and overall as an illness. However, in the Native American culture old age is something that is looked at with respect and they pass down the knowledge that they have gained to the next generations. Generally, in many tribal communities the elderly are looked upon with high regard for their wisdom and accumulated life experiences. The elderly are often looked to for advice and and pass down their learnings and teachings to the rest of the community. All members of the tribe care for the elderly as a group and they accept death as a natural part of theirs lives and try not to face death with fear. They believe the soul is immortal and aging to be a pathway to a “changing of worlds” or death. These communities also keep the elderly relatives of branches of the family in their care as well because the families do not solely depend on strictly their nuclear family. The Native American culture does not try to treat old age as an illness but instead they embrace it as an accumulation of wisdom and experiences to be passed down to the next generations.
National Resource Center on Native American Aging. “Native American Elderly.” . http://cas.umkc.edu/casww/natamers.htm (accessed July 3, 2014).