On our reservation, the elders are highly respected. To be an elder, one must be involved with the Longhouse (religion, traditional, God, Creator), one must speak the native language fluently, and one must be over the age of 65.
Some of our elders are well into their 90s, and they begin to behave like children again. This is just joyful to me, as I work a lot with elders, gathering history.
My mom told me: "When I get old and start to go dingy, don't tell me...just let me go dingy like nothing's wrong!"
Strange thing is, when the elders are being silly, they can also speak words that are hammer-to-nail direct and true.