Being An Old Dog Pays Off

Inspiration From My Old Dog
Inspiration From My Old Dog

 As an aging person, sometimes it is hard to make ends meet. Having persistance and perserverance is important to budget survival. Many businesses and services available to seniors offer discounts and special offers for people 55 and older. All you have to do is ask. There may even be different levels depending on how old you are. One Senior Center that I am aware of even has a list for Senior Discounts available to their participants from over 40 local businesses.

The Village to Village Network that had their first village start up in Boston, has new Villages popping up all over the country. They offer vetted vendors low-cost and discounted services to seniors through their local Village project. These are grass-roots networks with already over 110,000 members nationwide. The Village to Village Network itself offers national discounts through their Village BetterBuys program online to all the members. Sure, you have to be able to have access to a computer and many seniors aren’t yet online. The Village Volunteers in your Village can help you with that. Even with so many seniors not online yet, there are 1 in 3 Seniors who are Facebook users already. There are easy to use computer devices like FamilyLink.net, that work with a simple touchscreen, and many other computer systems available today. Don’t be afraid to be the old dog learning new tricks. It just might pay off.

Living within a budget is already hard. Make it easier on yourself and embrace some new technologies today. Once you get past the stigma that it might be hard, you may be happily surprised to find how really easy it is…and save a little money.

Thanks for reading ūüėČ

Life: Long Learning

We hear about lifelong learning all the time. Many elders enjoy keeping their minds sharp by taking classes and experiencing new adventures in learning. What we don’t consider at earlier ages is that life itself is full of constant adjustments and adaptations. As we adapt to what life challenges are presented to us, we change, we grow, in wisdom, and in knowledge. Having experienced life from being a child until we are considered an elder, we have learned many life lessons. One of the main things learned is that history truly does repeat itself. Styles come back, wars come and go, trends resurface, and sometimes we as a society make the wrong choices for solving issues time and time again.¬†Each generation¬†hands our knowledge down so that others can learn from our experiences and perhaps¬†right some wrongs.¬†

Some¬† people amazed me recently at an outdoor cafe when I happened to overhear their conversation ridiculing an absent friend over her first dinner party. She evidently had not ever served an avacado before,¬† so she didn’t know that she was supposed to take the peel off first before she sliced it. As I listened to her first dinner guests’¬†non-productive ridicule and¬†laughter over her inexperience, I thought of how great it would have been if one of them had offered to help her for other dinner parties so they could show her the way. I hoped they would consider it. Maybe they wouldn’t.

One of them went on to say that they couldn’t get over that their father had started a new hobby, “…at his age.” They were around 30ish so their father had to be 50-60ish, perhaps older even. What a ¬†narrow comment when the world is so wide and open to life experiences. As they went off to their boating experience for the day, very happy and excited, I thought of the father that was happy and excited in his new challenge and how delighted he must be to be doing it at the ripe old age of 50 or so (sic). Perhaps he is showing the way to someone who is receptive to his life and his long learning of experiences and wisdom. That is what elders in society do for others, they show them the way. Through an elders’ long life there has been much to learn. Perhaps mistakes of the past might not be repeated if previous experience is shared openly with one another, for learning from a long life.

Life itself is an education, learning long.

Thanks for reading ūüėČ

 

When An Old Friend Dies, “An Ageing Badge of Courage”

Death¬†is never easy for the person that is dying, of course,¬†nor the family and friends engaged in the process. It is especially poignant for friends that have made a significant difference in our lives.¬†One such friend is currently in hospice as we wait for the inevitable end. We are no longer allowed to visit at the family’s request and those were also his wishes, we were told, and we respected it.

My last visit was last week. He gently told me that he hadn’t realized that he had such an impact on many of our lives. There had been a steady stream of visitors while he held court in the VA Hospital, truly a palace of hospitals. They all¬†told him how he had touched their lives, and many were significant.¬†Though he was terminally ill, he remained jovial and in unbelievably good spirits. He told me that the doctors couldn’t believe how his mental stability remained so healthy, while his body failed. I believed it.

This dear man has been a warrior, a pundant, and a fierce newspaper writer. He¬†is a Rotarian and an author. Though he is in and out¬†of consciousness now,¬†his philosophy has been¬†to always ask a person about themselves, and remembered what was important to that person, and ask them again when he saw them later. He liked to make people feel friendship, and happy, and loved. He was of great assistance to others when they needed his help. For me, he told the local newspapers to “print her stuff” when I was writing press releases for work and charity. And, they did since he had requested it. Once when I wrote an article, he critiqued it so rigidly that it almost wasn’t mine anymore but he¬†encouraged me take the credit because he wanted me to learn to write better. I think I do because of him. He said to look for the good whenever you can because people really do want to hear what is good. It made me smile since he wrote publically very critically of politicians using the many historical references that he was so famous for. Learning from this person in his eighties,¬†was a gift he gave to many. How lucky we were to sit with him and bask in the glow of his knowledge.

He remembered to me how much he enjoyed dancing with his wife as if he would be seeing her soon. I touched his knee as I gave him the new Rotary pin for the year, and left it where he could see it. When I was walking out the door he quietly said, “Come again anytime, I am always glad to see you.” I am sure that he said that to everyone that visited him. I would expect nothing less.

As we wait for the end, we still consider the living that he touched, made better, and changed us for his having been here. His grace in dying should be a lesson to us all to not regret anything as we live our best life, and be thankful that we lived it.

The ageing process is inevitable and all generations should understand and expect it bravely. We shouldn’t let the fact that someone is old or infirm deter us from making contact to enjoy their company and learn from them. We should look at their wrinkles and gray hair as¬†an “Ageing¬†Badge of Courage” and try to be like them…because we inevitably will.

Thanks for reading;)

A Stunning Elder Interview

Today, I will focus on something that I personally experienced recently, within my 6 month¬†job search efforts. I will preface it by saying that I always seem to get the interview, make it to the final 2 or 3, and then they hire the other person who happens to be younger for reasons that vary greatly. The other person already has their Master’s degree or speaks Mandarin, or something else.¬†I¬†AM starting to think it has something to do with my age;)

To say that the interviewer was stunned when she saw me would be a mild assessment. I looked lovely if I do say so myself,¬†in my soft¬†pink pearls and blouse with elegant matching scarf.¬†I had some fun socks and patent designer¬†loafers on with black pencil slacks. My attire was entirely appropriate for the job at hand so I know that wasn’t what was stunning her. ¬†At 58 years of age, I had adhered to all of¬†the advice from headhunters, friends, business associates, and my college professors¬†to not reveal my age in my resume. Of course my resume shows that I graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science and that I am in my 2nd year of graduate school so why shouldn’t there be an assumption that I am in my 20’s, or 30’s,¬†and surprised to see me standing there in front of her? Why, because then it would be “Agism” and getting people to realize that is the first step to appreciating what a seasoned new hire could offer, and get past it.¬†¬†

To be clear, the person that interviewed me when I introduced myself was only momentarily stunned, immediately got past it, and¬†recovered professionally and courteously. I thought about the look on her face when she first saw me and at first I didn’t know what the look represented until later during the interview by some of the questions she asked. She was deft at getting the answers she needed without really asking.¬†I was impressed. We ended up having one of the longest interviews I have had with many commonalities between us. She had me take an integrity test with over 150 questions on it that made me smile since I am a Rotarian and live by the 4-Way Test, “Of the things we think, say, or do, is it the truth; is it fair to all concerned; will it build goodwill and better friendships; and is it beneficial to all concerned?” The test was like many we studied in undergraduate work so it was fine.

I left liking her very much, and with a good feeling, knowing that I could help her reach the company goals¬†she had set. With my high energy and previous experience in the same field, the job would be an excellent fit. Over 90% of their clients are seniors and with my Gerontology training, it would be a bonus to them. She did¬†give me the salary range and said¬†I would be hearing from her soon. If¬†the opportunity passes, that’s fine too since I would only want to work for a company that appreciates the grace and wisdom of an experienced employee that appreciates intergenerational workplaces and can pass it on to their customers and other staff members.¬†I will remain optomistic and hope that she sees the potential in hiring me, a stunning, seasoned 58 year old, if I do say so myself.

Thanks for reading;)

Aging Healthy is Diverse

We are all aging from the time we are born but managing aging is diverse. For different cultures managing recuperation from illness varies¬†especially as it relates to pain. The Brits are taught from an early age to “Have a stiff upper lip” while we Americans have heard over and over, “No pain, no gain.” Italians just started discussing some¬†medical issues within the family like breast cancer within the last generation, and they pray about it.¬† Collective societies like the Chinese all pitch in to get the best result. Mexicans tend to take care of themselves, and along with Blacks, look to their places of worship to get through difficulties. My source for this information, besides my own experiences,¬†came from Mehrotra Wagner’s book, “Aging and Diversity.” Of course there are differences among many within their own ethnic groups but the point is that we should be considering their differences.

Too often we see medical practitioners and long-term care agencies handling everyone the same way. There are movements to change this within the Ageing field. For instance, The Jewish Home in San Francisco is a good model. They not only cook for their clients’ cultures and beliefs but offer counseling and religious services¬†within the perameters of their Jewish faith.

Other considerations to be made are¬†that some¬†have hearing and sight deficits, but not all. Simply because a person has gray hair isn’t a reason to talk louder, for instance. I say it all the time that we shouldn’t assume anything. If a person can’t talk doesn’t mean that they aren’t in pain. Stroke victims may be able to blink once for “yes” and twice for “no.” We shouldn’t assume that they can’t communicate because they can’t talk.

By learning about the ethnicities of the diverse people we are caring about, and caring for, we may be able to take te pain threshold down a notch. At least we can all try.

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;)

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 ūüėČ

“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. ūüėČ