Old People are Cool!
Our Favorite Memories as Elder Care Consultants
As Elder Care Consultants, what we love most about what we do is that we have the opportunity to really get to know the people we serve: who they are today and who they once were. Many times we are hearing the stories and memories as told by adult children, but sometimes we are lucky enough to get to know people when they are still able to tell their own stories. As we take some time to honor our elders this month and recognize them on National Senior Citizens Day, August 21, we’d like to share with you some of our favorite memories of our time as Elder Care Consultants. Some of the stories and lessons that we have learned in our careers as Elder Care Consultants will stay with us forever.
Pam: I met Bob when he had reached a point in his life where he needed some simple help to keep him healthy and as independent as possible. When Bob retired, he decided that his daily purpose was to make people smile. When I would visit his assisted living community, he would be sitting in the living room greeting people as they walked by. On nice days, he’d be out on the patio enjoying the fresh air. In either case, I’d say, “Bob, how are you doing today?” Bob’s consistent response was always, “Fine as frog’s hair.” I’d reply, “I guess that’s pretty fine!” He achieved his goal every time we saw each other. He made me smile.
Courtney: One of the things I love most about being an elder care consultant is getting to experience snippets of our seniors’ lives. Just like every individual’s care needs are unique, so are their life stories. I love to hear how Joe, a WWll vet, was instrumental in figuring out how to can potatoes and develop chicken spread, and that he was able to retire in his late 50’s and enjoy his lake home with his kids and grandkids. Sally loved to bake Christmas cookies every year with her sons, and she loved to recount the time they picked her up in a limo for her birthday. Louie was a firefighter and took odd jobs on his days off. When talking to his children, who play an instrumental role in his care, I said that Louie was lucky to have such devoted children, and his son said, “No, we are the lucky ones.” I think I am one of the lucky ones to get to share in these peoples’ lives!
Derek: I'll never forget the day that I visited Pearl and her family. She had just moved into a care community that we found for her, and she was getting used to the new room. She was 98 and still very independent physically. When the nurse asked her what her secret to a long healthy life was, she looked around the room and gestured to me. "Get close, I'm very old and can only whisper," she said. I was confused as I just heard her telling a story loudly to her son a few minutes ago. "Closer," she said. I positioned my ear right next to her mouth. She blew a raspberry in my ear and said she'd never share her secrets with anyone! As I watched her laugh, I thought how great it was that regardless of age, we never grow out of our humor and personality.
Jenny: One of my favorite things I have learned from one of our elders was from Elizabeth. When I visited her at her new assisted living home, she asked me to please give her vase of cut flowers a little water. As I poured the water in with the pitcher, she said, ”Now, just a little! You never give the flowers too much water! You have to pay attention and give them more as they drink, but if you just fill it full at the beginning all that standing water turns into a swamp with the greens and deteriorates your flowers faster. Give them just enough to drink each day!” I carry these words of wisdom with me and follow Elizabeth’s strict orders so that I can enjoy my flowers longer, too!
Jen: The best advice I've been given is to slow down and really appreciate the people I’m with and the moment I'm in. Stop wasting time worrying about the little things because little things take care of themselves. Time goes by very quickly. Enjoy people, be kind to others, speak up for yourself, and laugh more. I must say, I’ve also been given some very practical advice by some of my elders: "It's true - move it or lose it!" "If you keep wearing those high heels, you're going to ruin your feet!" "Don't worry about a clean house, spend time with your family."
But the funniest comment made to me as I was walking behind my 93-year-old client touring an assisted living facility was: "Pick up the pace, Jen, we'll never finish if you keep walking so slow!"
I feel blessed and honored to work with elders ~ it's the best part of my job!
Names have been changed to protect people’s privacy.