Listen to the elderly
I love nothing more than when one of my clients shares a story from the past. It gives me a real insight into their life and their character when they were younger and sometimes they are quite exciting and juicy. Only today a 92 year old lady shared with me that because her parents divorced during the war and she had her brother to care for she went to work in the office of a laundry. She also undertook shifts helping people fit gas masks and informing family members about the death of a loved one. A big ask for a young lady who had had 2 years added to her age to be able to take the job!
One of my elderly gentlemen shared some stories with me a couple of years ago and they were both funny and interesting. During the War he was sent to retrieve bodies of pilots from a US plane that had crashed near the airfield be was stationed at. He said as a 17 year old lad he was terrified when he was handed a huge pair of black gloves. Luckily U.S. Forces arrived at the scene first and his help was no longer require to his great relief.
When I asked if he had shared them with his daughter he said he had not and that his family would not be interested. Such a shame. He has since died and so few know his tales.
The point of this article is to ask you to take a few minutes out of your busy day to really be interested in the stories of elderly people you are caring for if you don’t already. They are the ones with the lifetime of knowledge and the most amazing life stories. Listen to the elderly and you will learn. In the past before the digital revolution people learnt from the elderly, they were the ones with the skills, experience and knowledge.