Guest blog courtesy of Jackie Hickey, RN CCP, Community Health Advisor Bayshore Home Health.
This June we commemorate the twenty-eighth year of Seniors’ Month in Ontario, a month to celebrate, honour and recognize the distinctiveness and magnificence of our oldest generation.
Have you ever sat down and really listened to a senior tell their story? As a new grad fresh out of nursing school in the mid ‘80s, my first job was on a medical floor at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto. My fondest memory was the night shift (yes, I said night shift). I would sit for hours listening to our oldest patients engage in conversation about the “olden days,” tell their personal stories and enjoy the camaraderie they felt so fortunate to have, as many of their families and friends were no longer alive.
It fascinated me to hear about the many “firsts” that occurred in their generation – motorized cars driving on the road, inventions that we take for granted and the world wars. On many occasions I laughed, on some I cried and I felt the longing these folks had for a bygone time. I learned firsthand about the wonders and growth our society has had over the last 100 years. I guess that’s why I love a good story that anyone has to tell. This privileged experience also taught me that life is not easy and to appreciate every day and everyone, for one day life could suddenly change.
This year’s theme is Celebrate, Participate, which emphasizes the importance of recognizing the pillars of our community and staying active. Many communities are jumping on the age-friendly healthy lifestyle bandwagon in support of our aging population.
As our population ages, we are slowly realizing the need to savour our golden generation in more ways then one. The Ontario government is working hard to help create healthy and accessible communities by protecting seniors and encouraging age-friendly communities – it’s time we recognize and improve the quality of life for our seniors.
One only has to look around, to see the many contributions our seniors – older adults, elders – have made. Being politically correct may not really matter to seniors, but recognizing their efforts in building a sustainable society for generations to come does.
Our seniors are the very foundation of society and the strength of our community. From the torment of the Great Depression to the anguish of post-world wars, they carried on and rebuilt families, communities, economic stability and hope. They also contributed to their own longevity through good nutrition, healthy lifestyles and medical advances. But most significantly, they maintained peace so that their children and future generations would be safe and prosperous.
The next time you need to remember something of importance that happened many years ago, ask a trusted senior. They would likely give you a good answer and a fascinating
anecdote to go along with it. Spend some quality time with a senior near and dear to your heart – you may laugh, you may cry but it’s certain you will make their day … and it also might make yours!
As a Registered Nurse and Community Health Advisor with Bayshore Home Health, I have a strong goal to educate and support family caregivers in caring for their loved ones, and serve as a trusted health advisor. I strive to make a difference in the future health of aging Canadians. For more information, please contact me at 416-992-4280 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Caring@Home blog at