We all like to be HEARD. During this political season, every politician is vying for the listening ear of every eligible voter. Children shout, "Mommy, mommy, mommy" until they get a response. We have conversations with our friends and not so friendlies, and although we are hearing them speak, what we really want is a chance for them to listen to US.
Life is no different for our seniors. Their grown children have busy, hectic lives. These seniors desperately want a few minutes of their time, to talk with their family, listen to what's happening in their lives, and to share their own recent experiences and struggles. Seniors living in facilities want the administration to hear their viewpoints on everything from the temperature of the building to their suggestions or complaints about the cafeteria menu. Mostly, seniors aren't through living, aren't through caring and they aren't through hearing and wanting to be heard.
There are myriads of reasons why it's critical to make intentional opportunities to listen to our seniors. First, they may have changing needs- physical, medical, emotional, mental or spiritual- that could be indicators to both their short-term and long-term well being. We need to listen for what those needs might be.
We also need to listen because seniors have so much value to offer with their words, wisdom and experience. They've seen so much in their lifetimes, and their grown children, grandchildren and people who are a part of their caring process can benefit greatly just by asking questions of our seniors, and then listening well to their responses.
Finally, listening is the easiest way in the world for us to offer each other the dignity and honor that is deserved, and that we would want for ourselves if/when we find ourselves in their shoes. Listening means we stop, put aside other things, and make this conversation the priority of the moment. It says to the other person, "You are valuable, you matter, and what you have to say is important."
Take some time today to listen! If you or a loved one could benefit from hiring a home health care staff person to be a part of this listening process by working as a caregiver, then give one of our OPHC member agencies a call. Simply click on "About Us" at the top of this page, and then "Membership Directory" for a list of our member agencies!
Visiting Angels of Tulsa
Visiting Angels of Bartlesville
Visiting Angels of SWOKC