For the 432949th time, I love my job. I love working with the people I do. Each day is different, I am constantly on my toes because I never know what challenge I’ll be facing. And the best thing, I wake up excited because I know I am going to learn something new. I am almost always the youngest person in the room, and therefore the least wise and the dumbest. Or should I say, ‘person with the least lived-experiences’. And that’s just how I like it.
What people do not tell you about working with older adults, is that it is the exact same thing as working with children (don’t at me), but it’s true. See, at a point in time, adults think they know everything; sometimes they do, but most times they do not. If you don’t study something, then you don’t really know about it – which comes to a surprise for some, but it’s reality. So, I must teach. Children, well again, they think they know everything and well, obviously they do not; so, we must teach them.
I take my time, use simple verbiage and demonstrate everything. I give a thesis for an explanation on the importance of exercise and physical activity for each client and patient, just to give it again the next time I see them. It’s funny, I always revert to when I was a child and my parents yelling “how many times do I have to tell you *something*”. It makes me chuckle. They always apologize, but I really do not mind at all. It teaches me how to connect with each person individually. I learn what cues work for what minds, and the learning styles for people as they age – everyone is different.
But on the other hand, older adults teach you about life just like children teach you about yourself. I get excited to work with older adults because of their lived experiences. In the last year and a half, with ACCESS alone, I have met over 290 people and had a minimum of one conversation with each one lasting on average 45 minutes. From white collar professionals, to blue collars to stay-at home moms and entrepreneurs, man have I heard a lot.
So, here are a few things I have learned from working with older adults that I think of everyday:
1. Max out your TSFA.
2. If you can’t buy it twice in cash, you can’t afford it.
3. Dance every day for at least 3 minutes (George says the Waltz keeps you young).
4. If you’re going to bed saying ‘No’ more than you say ‘Yes’ then you need to change your situation.
5. No one actually knows what is going on. Everyone is faking it.
I have learned SO much more than I listed above but these five things keep crossing my mind and have made an impact on my life. I encourage everyone to spend time with older adults, specifically those who are not related to you!!
Also shout out to these OG's from Valley Cardiac Rehab, miss them so much!