The smile from a senior sharing a story with a university student is what makes me happy.
Sometimes we forget to look beyond age and realise there is a person underneath who has a rich history to share.
I remember doing an interview with a former teacher and she said “Bev, when you get old, you too will become invisible.”
Maybe because the blinkers have been taken off my eyes I asked “But how I can see you?”
She told me sometimes she could be physically there, but ignored, people don’t think she is special just a little old lady.
Through establishing not-for-profit Celebrate Living History, I aim to make seniors feel important and most of all visible.
I believe no one should feel invisible and have created an internship program, which connects tertiary students with seniors.
What I love about the two different generations is it does not matter how old you are, there is a friendship to be shared. I want to break down barriers and make seniors feel valued.
I have been working on Celebrate Living History for the past three years and I have learnt so much. One of the seniors that I had grown close to asked, “What have you learnt in three years?
If I were to look back, I learnt that it does not matter what status, job or life experience you have it is about the person inside. I have just graduated from a Certificate III in Aged Care and my placement at a nursing home made me see life on the other side.
At first I felt sorry for the residents, but then I got to know them. Some of the residents despite their position kept a bright outlook on life; it is the small things that count, like being able to stroke your cat everyday to that cheeky extra slice of pizza. It is about being in the moment and appreciating what you have.
Additionally I have learnt, how important it is for a senior to socialise, as it improves their quality of life so much. Just taking time out to hang with a senior means so much to them, everyone should feel important.
This is just the start of the knowledge I have gained. I want students to follow in my footsteps to learn and make valuable life-long friendships with the older generation.
My focus this year will be on Celebrate Living History reaching more tertiary institutes so that further students can learn, document and cherish a senior’s story, just like I have.
Founder of Celebrate Living History
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