Cicero had a point. If we make a conscious effort to be friendly, we can avoid becoming the grumpy old person that none of us wants to be. Friendliness can be useful too.
Donna and I knew a senior in assisted living who took a turn toward grumpiness. This made it difficult for friends and staff to offer her the emotional support they wanted to give. We knew another senior who remained friendly and welcoming through three years in a nursing home. He had a steady stream of visitors, including some who took him out for drives or to restaurants. He never lacked for coffee milkshakes, his favorite, which friends brought from the local ice cream parlor.
Anger in seniors can have physical causes, such as dementia or the side effects of medications. Depression, fear, and loss of a loved one can play their role.
But to the extent possible, we should resist becoming grouchy. We ought to send cards, give presents, keep in touch, be cheerful around company, and not be rude. That’s what the ancients would have recommended — and moderns do too. We’ll feel better about ourselves, and we’ll have more friends around us when we need them.