I’ve worked with seniors and now I’m working in a project trying to reform the elderly nursing education in Germany, the professor leading this project is almost a senior herself, so I’ve thought that I should post something on the topic, because today is a national senior citizens day 🙂
It’s simple – we should respect the elderly, treat them with kindness and as equal, even when it seems that they’re not capable of doing some stuff that are easy for us (like texting, surfing the net, remembering stuff or even going to the toilet on our own). And not because they’ve achieved something great while there were younger or because they’re really wise, because to be honest – not everyone is like that, but just because they’re human beings, who need validation and love.
Actually it’s the other way around for me – giving them validation and love makes you a quality human being. If you feel angry or something and you express that anger by putting the weaker ones down, e.g. seniors, something it’s not right. Violence in the elderly nursing, especially in the family, is a big topic in the research for my work and like every other violence it comes mostly from seeing the victim (e.g. elderly people) as inferior.
While working with elderly people, a lot of nurses tried to explain to me, that the elderly are not really people, they were earlier, but today it doesn’t matter what you say or do to them, because they don’t remember, that they’re not like children either, because they’ll never learn again or grow up, they were more like dogs or something (the high-functional or healthy elderly people are not included here).
Well really, I think that no one should think, say or have to hear that. I never got that concept of course and continued to do something with them, to teach them something or simply to talk with them. And they really enjoyed it. Simple normal conversations helped one of the patients to get out of a depression and begin an independent life again. Her son was telling me afterwards, how grateful he is that he has his mother back and that I’ll make a great psychologist while I was trying to explain to him, that all his mother ever needed is being treated like a normal, equal person. I’ll also never forget how upset one of the “bad” grannies was, as I was about to go for a month in Bulgaria, although she couldn’t even say my name and kept calling me Dorothea…
Anyway, my point was simple – respect our senior citizens and may be call your grandma or grandpa today, just to hear what’s up and say “Happy Senior Citizens Day!” 🙂