In the new world we live in where we have little control over events and outcomes and the lens on our older selves is shifting. Older people are described as vulnerable, at risk and need isolating for the protection of themselves and others. While all this is true and appropriate at this time, the other side of our vulnerability is our strength. Strength that comes from adversity, life experience and the need to be resilient.
We are called as elders to support our families and friends, help them articulate their fears and teach them how to be patient and hold strong. We can’t be with them, but we are always with them…… How?
- in how we role model behaviours for this time- patience, expressing our emotions in a calm descriptive way. Making it OK to talk feelings and not cover them up
- in the questions we ask… How are you doing? What’s it like in your world at the moment? Open the space for them to talk..listen..really listen………don’t try to fix everything…just listen
- Help people see that we are all interconnected. We don’t need to have all the answers and be in control. This is the time of letting go of the fantasy that we can fix the world……..But around us are people better placed to find solutions. We have a locus of control in how we connect to others, bring people together from a distance using the media available and in walking hand in hand with hope and fear
I’ve been reading a beautiful book. Perseverance by Margaret Wheatley. It contains wise quotes and gentle reminders of who we are in the world and the work to be done. She quotes these words from Susan Osborn, a singer/ songwriter………
I’m making my shoulders strong
for the young to stand upon,
stepping lightly on the backs of those
who hold me up
It’s a chain of life unending,
ever new and ever bending,
grateful is the heart for the chance to be alive.