What We Need Now: Sharing Age and Wisdom
by Leslie Eckford
One of the best things about people who are good caregivers is how much they enjoy the company of the elders that they care for. Sadly, there are some people who say, “Oh these old folks, they’re so cute aren’t they?” They are not the ones that I mean. I am talking about the people who really stop and listen to elderly people, ask questions and want to know more.
We spend a lot of time here at MindfulAging thinking about how as a society we are possibly going to handle the aging flood tide that is already upon us and the care that some of them will need. At the same time, we are at an unprecedented time in history when we are surrounded by so many amazing people who happen to be old…really old. That is something to appreciate. Unfortunately, too many of them are sequestered and isolated from the community, a wasted resource.
As I read the link below, I wondered what it would be like if more of these incredible, articulate aging people would have the opportunity to talk to more groups of younger people, not just medical students. Of course, it is critical for the medical community to really get it that old people are real people that need their care and fine tuned attention. But imagine a regular program like this in all levels of public schools and colleges, businesses and local governing boards. It’s time to take this show on the road.
Reading this story also brought to mind some wonderful people in their 90’s to mind. Tell us about your favorite, inspiring 90-something year old. What valuable knowledge have they shared with you that they could they share with medical students and beyond?