Independence Day is just around the corner, and for most of us, this marks the official beginning of the summer slow-down. It’s a time when we gather around the BBQ, at the beach, or beside the pool with our family, friends, and a heaping scoop of macaroni salad. We share war stories of the winter weather we’ve left behind, and look forward to the next few months of warm, sunny days. What we rarely do, and probably should, is remember what Independence Day is truly about, and reflect on our role as American citizens.
April 4th marked 49 years since Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. During his lifetime, Dr. King was pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta, and I had the honor of hearing the current Ebenezer Baptist pastor, Dr. Raphael Warnock, speak in Memphis at the American Jewish Aging Services Conference earlier this month.
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center has a large Haitian American staff that largely provide front line nursing care and food services for our residents and patients. Over the years I have gotten to know many of these staff members and shared good and challenging times together. I have not, however, learned enough about Haitian culture and religions, and so I jumped at the opportunity to be a visitor at a local Haitian Church.
The biggest applause of this year’s Hebrew SeniorLife EngAGE event came not for the Emmy or Grammy Award winners but for the woman whose YouTube videos went viral and made her a celebrity at age 76. It was only appropriate for an event with the goal of redefining how we think and talk about aging.
Earlier this year Hebrew SeniorLife Communities sponsored the “Senior Living Communities of the Future Forum” at NewBridge on the Charles as an opportunity for our residents’ adult children to hear from experts in their fields on the future of senior living communities.
We sought insights to some of their most significant concerns as they relate to aging as well as important questions about their vision of the life they want to lead in later years. Concerns such as:
Nursing students begin their careers with the understanding that caring for ill and frail people will include having a large population of seniors as their patients. And while caring for them in times of greatest need is vitally important, they often never have the opportunity to get to know patients as people and relate to their more specific medical needs associated with aging.