I was born into a society that gave credit to wisdom learned from the university of life. A culture that acknowledged the tutoring you got out of living. Grey hair was a badge of honor. It marked you as one who learned from every experience you went through and emerged as a better man. Every elderly was revered and assumed the role of a statesman or community man to be more apt. The elders form a council with the responsibility of ensuring that life in the community was put in order.
The elders assumed multiple roles. They were the community psychiatrist and psychologists. People ran to them for guidance and counseling. They looked into the problems for which their advice was sought always in the context of what was best for all concerned, the community included. The advice was not dispensed off handedly. It would go through a process of consultation and discussions among the elders. Only when convinced that the advice they were going to offer was the most sound and sensible would they dish it out.
They were the community healers and peacemakers. They took it their task to make sure that conflicts and rifts among members of the community were patched. They negotiated peace pacts with other communities to make sure that the right of the community to live their lives without threat from harm and danger was ensured.
Given their status in the community which they rightly deserved, it was almost unthinkable for anyone to treat an elderly with disrespect. To mistreat them would be almost like asking for yourself a curse.