In an insightful article published a decade ago, “The Chicano Aged,” David Maldonado offers some comments that are germane to this presentation. In summing up the dilemma of the Chicano elderly, he asserts:
The aged person in the extended family holds high status and commands the respect and obedience of the younger family members. Within the extended family structure. the aging person grows in prestige and respect. The individual holds high rank and has influence in the life of the group.
This is the position afforded the aged in many societies as long as the elderly are able to function and contribute in a meaningful way. Prestige, respect, and influence are important parts of their role so long as the aged are not perceived as being a burden. There is, however, a stigma attached to aging in the United States because of the emphasis upon youth and a mind set which does not view aging as a positive process.