I attended a breakfast networking meeting the other day and we were asked to speak about what sets us and our business apart from others. It’s good to have a question posed that makes you stop and reflect on who you believe you are and what the intention is behind your actions.
My very first job at the age of fifteen was in a nursing home here in Kelowna. At that time, there was a much different attitude prevailing around the care of seniors. I immediately found that interacting with this wonderful group of people was completely engaging. I loved listening to their stories and laughed and cried often as they quietly shared their tidbits of wisdom with me. I saw things there that horrified me, as residents were not treated with the respect and dignity that they deserved. I found myself on many occasions over that 3 year period in my young life, vehemently advocating for one of the residents with staff much older than myself. It led me into a career in nursing, convinced that I could make things better.
I have carried that passion and love for our older population over my now long lifetime. I am thrilled with the many changes I have seen in our caring for our elders, but know that we still have a long way to go. It is true that older seniors move at a slower pace and do not seem fazed in the same way by what often causes many of us to become stressed and obsessed. Their years of experience have taught them to “not sweat the small stuff.” If we can slow down a little to meet their pace, I think there is great opportunity for learning.
My life has taken the journey of being a caregiver, both in my professional and personal life. My own patience gets tested some days as I care for my aging mom. But experience has now taught me that it is just a reminder for me to slow down and take the time to smell the roses and be fully present for the people I love.
Compassion truly comes from understanding and being gentle with ourselves and every day I practice this, I believe it makes a difference in the way I serve each client. Does it set me apart? I hope so.