Take a chance on the younger generation

Editor’s note: Long-Term Living welcomes Frieda Stewart, RN, DON, to our team of bloggers. Frieda brings a wealth of long-term care knowledge and experience to our community. She’s the director of nursing at Corn Heritage Village, Corn, Oklahoma; the owner and CEO of VitalAttitudes, LLC; and a speaker who travels the country spreading her message of passion and advocacy for long-term care issues.

My daughter works as a CMA/CNA in the nursing home where I am the Director of Nursing to pay her way through college. As I watch her youthful presence in this aging environment, I am amazed at the compassion that she, and so many of our young workers, have for our elders. Often they will sit with residents, listening to their stories, laughing at their witty comments, and crying real tears when a resident forgets that his or her family comes to visit every day or when he or she asks, "Does no one love me anymore?"

Lacey and others of her generation can soothe an old and broken heart; in a place where loneliness and depression are common, they can provide light to an often dark existence.

My daughter is only one example. Numerous other young adults make their livelihood caring for our elderly. They brave the certification courses, risking danger, only to be hit, cursed, and scoffed by those they care for, yet they show a determination to provide compassionate care in the midst of strife. They are proud to be certified nursing assistants and have reason to hold their heads high: They are doing one of the most important jobs that can be done.

I see our young adults giving hugs, kisses, and showing compassion like never before. A glimpse of youth and age merged in a timeless zone, where all is equal and hearts are touched. An attitude of respect is given by both parties. In a time when it would seem our youth is declining in compassion, respect, and understanding, I observe the opposite through these interactions with their elders. It gives me hope of a new and positive mindset for all mankind. So, I encourage taking a chance on the younger generation; give them a chance to make a difference in the lives of the residents in your nursing home. You may be surprised!

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