As the wave of aging baby boomers enters the market for senior living (10,000 turn age 65 every day), these "younger" older adults are revolutionizing the traditional views of retirement and reshaping the language used in the senior living field.
Sometimes the lines can get blurred between being a good friend and neighbor and becoming a caregiver. We all want to help out those we care about. We offer to bring over a dish when someone is feeling ill, or we offer a ride to an appointment for someone who doesn’t drive.
I recently "retired" again, but not exactly like I did in 2007 after 45 years of designing and building houses in Atlanta. This time, it was from a variety of volunteer capacities I've held for the past 27 years with YES!Atlanta, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Atlanta's at-risk inner-city youth.
A Night at the Hospital
By the time someone reaches their 80’s and 90’s, they have seen a lot of life. The ups and the downs. The good and the bad. Elders’ life experiences truly cover the full spectrum. How do souls survive and thrive such a varied terrain?
It's been my observation that for souls to weather this thing we call life, they need to be rooted and grounded in relationships. In particular, relationships with:
This school year we partnered with Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School and, through their work study program, we welcomed four interns to our campus. Each student works one full day a week plus a rotating Monday. It's a delightful and beneficial experience for both sides -- the students share their fresh perspectives and technology proficiency with us and our associates share their business knowledge and job skills with them.
“Your husband has very serious heart disease and needs open heart surgery as soon as possible.” Referring to a man who never had a cardiac symptom, this doctor’s shocking statement inaugurated our six-month journey to Lenbrook.
You could say I founded the "Geezer Squad" here at Lenbrook. When my wife and I moved here about six plus years ago, and being the "computer geek with no formal training" that I am, I quickly rounded up a handful of fellow geeks to be "on call" to assist residents with their computers.
I admit it. I love to exercise but that hasn’t always been the case. In high school a friend of mine was a dancer and she invited me to join her rehearsals. I loved the freedom I felt and moving with the music was magical - I was hooked! ” Wellness" hadn't fully entered the mainstream yet.
It's funny what you can learn about someone when you invite them to chat with you. At least that's been my experience with the "community chats" we host here at Lenbrook – an intimate weekly meeting in which residents of a particular floor are invited to come chat with me, members of our management team and officers of our Residents Association over coffee.
Listen, Share and Learn
Pictured Above: Chris Keysor (Lenbrook President and CEO, Jackie Durant (Lenbrook Resident) and Linden Longino
How much is a “thank you” hug from a Nobel Peace Laureate worth? What is the value of a letter from a teacher in Afghanistan who says, “Because of your work many children here have some hope that their cries for peace will be heard somewhere.” Are twenty years of volunteer work worth this? Yes.