“Know that you are the perfect age.
Each year is special and precious,
for you shall only live it once.
Be comfortable with growing older.”
The elderly cope with so many problems; financial security, the loss of loved ones, physical and mental health; psychological struggles like fear, frustration, depression, and dependence. Meeting their needs is a challenge!
I have great respect for the elderly. As I began working with older adults in the 90's, I discovered I have as much to learn from the elderly as they may have to learn from me. Years have passed, and it seems as though I am part of this group right now! As we speak today, my mom is 80 and my aunt is 95, and I take care of both in Brazil. I have had the privilege of working at two different nursing homes. The first was in Brazil in the 80's, and the second was in North Carolina in the 2000's. These experiences made me think about life consumed by fear and despair.
There are two specific areas of work in my life which have brought great meaning: working with kids and working with the elderly have brought great joy and satisfaction to my life!
When working with the elderly, I have heard people say, “It is time wasted, how much can they understand?” “They are not capable to deal with their conflicts, are they? How could they improve?” “How could psychotherapy be good for the elderly if they are close to the end of life?” My experience and knowledge see these questions as myths creating social disgrace among the aged. Because it doesn’t matter if a person is 20 or 2 years old – life is still a gift from God, and they have the right to live well! Many of my friends are gone, because my friends are 20 or 30 years older than me. They had enjoyable lives. I have seen them growing old in wisdom, and that wisdom is contagious! I still have some of these older friends that I love and treasure!
I like to work with elderly and restore their hope for living! I teach skills to work with life transition and how to handle their relationships with themselves and others. I help them cope with loss and grief. Listening, being supportive, and helping them to change their vision about longevity, helps them develop emotional reconciliation with themselves. Helping them get and stay deeply engaged causes them to reap the benefits of their wisdom!