I recently had the privilege of being a guest lecturer at MATC for a class on Gerontology. The class was comprised of future social workers and case managers looking to work in the aging industry. What a gift they turned out to be. I asked them, “What does aging mean to you?”
As the discussion progressed, the insights and responses they gave were amazing. I heard personal stories, and questions that made it clear they were invested in growing their understanding of this elder generation. At the end of the class, the students were asked to share their takeaways.
What Does Aging Mean to You?
I was really moved by Ms. Lund’s discussion on the subject that aging has a ‘grieving’ component as it relates to the elder population losing their independence.
It brought to my mind how most of our life is spent trying to realize a level of independence, to be independent only to become dependent on something or somebody.
Being independent is an extremely important concept. My takeaway is that I need to be more empathetic and sensitive to the elder population as they experience loss of their independence.”
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
If you have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s or any life threatening illness, learn to ride shot gun in a conversation and let them drive. Explore the memory or experience that they have with them.”
Being in this Introduction to Gerontology course has been very eye opening for me and hearing you speak today made me realize that I have so much more to learn.
I have a better understanding of how important it is to learn how to work with the elderly population. Having that knowledge can really benefit the family as well as the individual.
One thing that I took away from today’s class was that when dealing with the elderly sometimes we need to allow them to lead the conversation.
If we practice active listening and give them time instead of rushing to get the answers we are looking for, we will get a lot further and even learn something new along the way.”
What I took away is when working with the older population, it is best to jump at opportunity for conversation when they bring something up. If they aren’t the first one to bring up a topic, asking questions instead of telling them things might help them find their own answers.”