Reflections On Aging and The Elderly

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Time passes so quickly and the older I become the more I can reflect on my past and understand where my parents were coming from a bit better.

I remember thinking I would be “so old” when I reached the age of 40, but when it arrived I felt anything but old. What I thought more about was the fact I thought it would take a long time to reach 40 and it did not. Time flew by so quickly.

In our medical office we see a lot of elderly people and it is always nice to be able to take a couple of extra minutes to chat with them and listen to their stories.

I remember several years ago one gentleman stood at our front counter talking to our front office assistant for several minutes. He was just talking about life in general and then he told her, “Thank you, for letting me take a few minutes of your time to talk to you.  I do not get to talk to people too often, in fact, you are probably the last person that I will get to talk today and maybe for a few days. I live alone and my family is not around so the only time I get to talk to people is when I go to appointments like this.” 

When he left we really realized there are many people like this and they are very lonely. No matter what industry you work in, if you serve the elderly population you need to keep in mind you may be the only human contact some of them are going to have that day and taking an extra minute to listen or chat could mean so much.

When communicating with the elderly about products, services or systems remember to take extra time to explain details, keeping them short and clear to make it easier to understand.

I do not consider myself “old” and yet when I went to the store the other day to look at wireless printers the young (20 something) sales person was talking about things that I truly had no idea what they were.  All I wanted was a printer that would do documents and pictures and he was talking about operating systems and compatibility, which I did not understand.  I ended up leaving and not buying a printer because he made it so confusing for me.

We need to realize that aging is a process that each of us, if we are lucky, will experience and we will all age differently. We need to be patient with our seniors and give them the respect and care that they deserve.  If we remember the Golden Rule, to treat others, as we would want to be treated, we cannot go wrong.

“Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.”  ~Jennifer Yane

 

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