At sixty degrees below zero, when your brain is a 2000cc supercomputer, your worth to the tribe and to others goes up and up as you age. How do we know this for certain? As Neanderthals got older they did not suffer from pattern baldness and cultivated a head full of curly locks in an attempt to look younger, which indicates they remained in sexual competition inside an exogamous matriarchy.
This indicates they were a vital part of tribal social life and were doubtless frequently consulted on the contents of that colossal associative database inside their heads which had been soaking up information like a sponge for many decades. A young neanderthal would go to his father or older men for answers to his questions and value their knowledge greatly because his own mind was capable of absorbing it through communication. This made people more and more valuable as they got older, with both boys and girls fighting for their attention in order to steal data from them. I imagine the elderly mentored students who were the most promising, which explains readily the "little professor" lectures that people with "Aspergers Syndrome" display at any prompting. They are trying to demonstrate their retention and grasp in order to attract mentoring which is a limited resource and therefore subject to competitive bidding in terms of biological game theory. That young Esau gave quite a lecture the other day on freshwater fishing, clearly he merits a little of my time so I can tell him about every good location I have discovered over the past 100 years in fishing. He has earned it by demonstrating his capacity to grasp this subject.
Homo Sapiens loses his hair at a very young age because he is as brainless as all the rest of his species and is already being sized up for cannibalism as soon as it is apparent he is growing too weak to defend himself. His worth after the age of 25 is zero to those around him. Currently the focus on youth in our society is vintage Sapiens, a culture that is engineered to always fail. A creature incapable of learning will not respect those older than he is or place any intrinsic worth on their counsel.
Our impulse to respect and revere the elderly is purely a result of our Neanderthal genetics and heritage. Those without Neanderthal genes can never evince what they never had to begin with. Projecting qualities onto them they don't have is guaranteed to end in tears for those who err in this regard.