One of my favorite things to do is to spend time with an elderly friend, looking through her old photos and hearing the stories connected with each one. These stories are always interesting, and are often heart-wrenching reminders of the sacrifices these people made for us (and of how spoiled we are today).
Which of course makes it even sadder that one of the few growth industries in this country is housing for the elderly. It wasn't always this way; just a handful of decades ago, old people lived with their children. Now too many are abandoned by their kids, having been turned over to professionals who, in the best facilities (see eg www.care-age.com), have more love and compassion for these dear old people than the children do.