One of my student wrote:
One of hotel staff helped the elder with eating.
Actually he meant that the elder has problem with eating and drinking because of old age. But the sentence seems improper. I correct the former part like this:
The hotel staff helped to care for the elderly and infirm to eat and drink.
Is it OK> Do you have any other advice?
ONLY A NON-TEACHER'S OPINION
(1) I take your question very seriously, for I am an old man.
(2) I think that you were right to correct his sentence.
(3) Be careful with the word "elder." Sometimes it does not necessarily refer to
"old people." For example, your "elder brother" could actually be 25 years old.
Then we talk about the church elders (leaders).
(4) In many countries, people say "Respect your elders." That is, anyone who is older than you. She or he does not have to be ancient.
(5) If you are talking of the whole staff, you might say:
The hotel staff helped the elderly and the infirm to eat. (There is no need to add "drink." We assume that eating includes drinking some beverage. In fact, if you said:
"The staff helped the elderly to drink," that could = you helped them to drink alcoholic beverages!) If you wish to refer to one of the staff, you might say "A staff member helped ...."
(6) Of course, we elderly people do not love being referred to as "elderly." Here in the United States, we use terms like "senior citizens," "seniors," "mature people," "older people," etc.
(a) So if you were writing this for a hotel advertisement, it might be a good idea not to use the word "elderly." It might offend your customers. Maybe something like:
Our hotel staff will be delighted to help older and infirm diners who may require assistance with their meals.
I thank you. And I am so happy to know that people in your country are again
studying (and following) some of the ideas of Confucius. This is a language helpline,
so I am not permitted to discuss his ideas. I guess that I am permitted to say that
this would be a better world today if more people observed his advice regarding good
manners and maintaining the highest standards of personal integrity.