December 2019 Blog
December is always a magical month – the weather is crisp, the streets are decked with tinsel, kitchens are filled with goodies and there is a general spirit of good will and happiness in the air. Now we know that not all of us celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or some other religious or cultural holiday, but we all share in our appreciation of the spirit of giving and compassion that is front and center in this season.
One of the organizations that we are very close to is the Office on Aging. Every four years the agency develops and action plan that develops and provides programs designed to help seniors in our midst to “age in place”. While this is but the latest buzz phrase among the agencies who are dedicated to the aging population, it has a lot of poignancy especially to the many of us who have cared for aging loved ones in the last years of their life. Aging in place means more than just staying in your own home, it means independence, it means control, it means dignity. How many times have we seen those who are aged, those who are disabled or those who are ill disappear from the conversation or be treated as less than an adult. But the other side of this is the problem that may exist that we are unable to be alone, to do the basic activities of daily living without help.
As part of the development of the four year plans, the Office on Aging hosts a number of focus groups. These meetings are to hear first-hand the problems and issues that seniors are dealing with in their own communities. It is interesting that the problems seem to be wide spread no matter the ethnicity, the incomes or the sexual preferences. Housing and transportation always loom large but it is isolation that comes to the front in all cases. This isolation is the recognition that you are being bypassed, your opinion does not matter anymore, you have lost value as a member of the group.
Keeping all of this in mind, those of us who provide services to the elderly, the disabled, the infirm understand the importance of taking the time to discover and to cherish the person behind the problem. We see first-hand how important companionship and casual conversation can be. Stimulation, competition, laughter and tears are all parts of human condition that bind us together and make us feeling whole. The Office on Aging supports Senior centers, home delivered meals, food banks, care giver groups and help lines to offer guidance and support when needed. All of these services are based on the idea that you are not alone, help is there to listen and to assist as best we can. Here at the Neuro Vitality Center we go even further offering medical support and rehabilitation to those who suffer from chronic illness and need additional help. But in all these programs we never forget the person we are here to help. We work to support the dignity, the value and the worth of each person no matter their challenges. We never forget how to value each person and to take the time to listen even when it something we have heard before.
So in this holiday season when so much around us is negative, let’s give thanks for those of us who make up our day, let’s take the time to stop and chat, to listen to those around us and let’s smile, let’s laugh and let’s enjoy each day that is given to us to share with others. As we light up our streets, let’s light up our friends, our associates and our loved ones with the same joy and happiness that says it is good to be alive.
Happy Holidays to all