Each month we ask a group cf readers, selected at random, to respond to a question or directive. This is your opportunity to share your knowledge and insight with our national nursing network.
Q What Is the most valuable lesson you have ever learned from an elderly person?
R. Pavkov, RN, MA, of the Columbus Area Community Mental Health Center-Geriatric Outpatient Service Unit In WestervMe, Ohio responded:
I leameo the valuable lesson of the personal investment of caring and sharing. Many years ago my grandmother conveyed these basic principles of love. Through giving of ourselves we experience limitless rewards. I've never found the application of this principle to be returned unanswered.
Lucretla Lundfett, BA, Director of Social Services at Greenbrlar Nursing and Convalescent Center, Woodbury, NJ, told us:
They have taught me to value life and to value what I have. No one's problems seem as bad when compared to the problems of others. They have taught me the value of supportive family relationships. The aged can boost your ego when they recognize good qualities in you and then it teaches you to look for the good in others.
Sister Rose Ann Kraus, RN, BS, Administrator of the Lutheran Deaconess Center, Gladwynne, Pennsylvania replied:
The older person's concern for others in simiiar circumstances and the willingness to go one step further to help is inspirational. The aged have a broader perspective and are not so quick to pass judgment on someone. The aged teach by example.
Q: In what ways can the elderly help a community? Do they do this in your community?
Harriet Selgel, RN, MS, Assistant Professor, University of Rochester School of Nursing, Rochester, New York remarked:
The elderly are repositories of historical knowledge, skill, and traditional values and give continuity to our communities. They act as role models of adaptation. The elders can work in the following programs: Foster Grandparents, Senior Action Committee (senior advocacy), Retired Senior Volunteer (a variety of jobs in transportation and meal provision), Red Cross I'm OK (a monitoring service in senior housing), retired executive pool (as consultants for new businesses), neighborhood watch, telephone reassurance, or friendly visitor. Our own community values elders and is enriched by all of the above mentioned services.
Bart Keener, C.A.R.E. Incorporated, Rogers, Arkansas said:
Although the elderly benefit communities in many ways, one of the most interesting and useful is the social enrichment of the community by relaying information and insights they have about history and heritage in a particular city or region. The historical societies and others in our area frequently utilize the elderly as a resource and many of our nursing home residents are pleased to provide their remembrances.