Working with Seniors, Check Your Ego at the Door

I used to fancy myself a somewhat “cool” person, “in the know,” and had the right contacts, the right friends and went to the “hip” places. Then I began working with seniors. They have seen it all, done it all, and usually know it all…really. They really do. I began to feel like a “poser.” Once I realized that I could learn from these wonderful people, I began to listen, and actually gain knowledge from their wisdom. Instead of seeing them as someone who is “doddering but dear” as one of my gerontology books put it, I realized they were of substance and great value. A commodity in the aging field to be worshipped! Don’t get me wrong, this realization didn’t happen overnight. I began as early as childhood, going to my Great Aunts and Uncles, and Grandmothers and Grandfathers for advice that I could count on. This blossoming understanding continues every day. Seriously, I would love to listen to anything that many of today’s seniors have to say. Today’s seniors include people that many of us don’t think of as seniors because they are prominent like David Letterman, Gloria Steinham, your doctor perhaps, and we listen to them. So why don’t we listen to the guy next door with just as much attention? He might have advised his son who started Google, for all we know. Why not take the time and listen? Why not indeed!

Recently, I was a guest at a meeting where there were all these people supposedly “in the know” about seniors. They talked around in circles for 2 hours and couldn’t make a decision to do something for the public on the month that represents what they are all about. I finally had to ask them why and another guest backed me up. They finally did decide to do something for community outreach but not without insuring that their party for themselves could be done as well. I was stunned that these people professed to understand working with seniors. I’m not naming names because many of them serve spectacularly away from this group, but please people check your ego at the door when you go to help seniors in any manner! Every one that gets helped is probably worth ten of you! No kidding! You only have to listen to them, be patient, and leave your ego at home. You might be surprised at what you can learn and it might even help you in your business. Remember, they were once too busy to take the time to listen too!

Thanks for reading;)

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Senior Services Volunteers Need To Be Nice

Who doesn’t love someone that volunteers to help seniors? Well, maybe not everyone. Many of us get caught up in the idea that it is good to give back to our community by serving the older generation but then they don’t look like they are happy doing it. They may act gruff and impatient when the seniors move a little slower, or don’t hear them at first, or some other infraction known only to them. Seeing the sad dissappointment on the faces of the seniors they are hurting is saddening to me.

Recently, I participated in volunteering at an event that many of the volunteers seemed to just want to get the job done quickly and get out of there. We must not lose sight of the fact that socialization is key for the personal well-being of our seniors. The time they spend sitting and chatting together is sometimes the only enjoyment they might get in a day, so why rush it? If the volunteer has somewhere else they need to get to, go ahead and leave the rest of us to help the seniors enjoy their time at the event. We all must also realize that we can’t let our impatience show and be nice to them because after all, that is why we are there in the first place to provide senior services with a smile. If your passion isn’t making their lives a little bit more pleasant, than hit the door and don’t come back.

Senior Services volunteers need to be nice or go volunteer somewhere else that is their passion, and make the seniors’ lives a little better just by not being there.

Thanks for reading 😉

“The WIN” In Business with Intro to Geronotology Mandated In Higher Education

With four generations working together in the workplace today, an Intro to Gerontology course should be mandated in higher education. When working together on a day-to-day basis it is imperative that all generations understand one another. It could be as simple as deleting one elective and creating the mandated Into to Gerontology course. I see it in the MBA course study, as well.

The state of the US economy needs all the help it can get so we should start with each other’s successes in communication. We saw what happened in this country after 9-11. I know because my husband and I were there and we survived it. Everyone banded together to get through the loss. So, why can’t we band together for the win too? The “Win” in business is what we need. If we all pull together for the common goal, we can work our way out of this depression and toward a brighter future. It starts with putting down that cell phone and stop texting long enough to simply talk. Getting to understand one’s body language will tell the truth on an issue and you can’t do that through a text! Taking a moment to hear an older person’s experience on a problem issue may save time and money in the long run. We can learn from previous mistakes and experience if we just take the time to hear it. As one of my university professors used to always say, “Take a moment and ponder” and the answer will come to you. The same goes for older people taking the time to understand the differences of their younger co-workers. If we can take the time to understand each other’s ethnic backgrounds and diversities, we can do the same for our different generations.

Dont’ forget “The Win!” Thanks for reading. 😉