In the controlled society depicted in The Giver, old age is seemingly treated with respect. When we look closer, though, it becomes clear that the wisdom which the elderly have to offer is wasted. They are treated as children, rather than as knowledgeable individuals, and are basically taken care of until they're killed off. When dealing with the elderly, ritual masks reality, as it does in much of this novel.
The elderly are the least free of all the citizens in the community.
The elderly are the most free of all the citizens in the community.