Working With The Elderly
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Working With The Elderly

A calling, not a job.

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Working With The Elderly
Pixabay

Most of us have an elderly grandfather or grandmother to thank for advice and wisdom that is given out every time we visit, not to mention endless questions about when we plan to get married or get a significant other (times were different back in their day, huh?) Despite that, we love them to pieces. We see the years of hard work and compassion learned set deep into their kind and loving eyes, and every minute spent with them is a relaxing stroll into the past, a reminder of how simple life can be when you focus on what really matters. For those of us who have elderly grandparents, it brings us joy to care to some of their needs, bringing treats and baking THEM cookies for once. However, even though we may want to spend enormous amounts of quality time with them, it is hard to do so when we have our own busy lives with jobs and school to tend to. This is why we will forever be eternally grateful to those who tend to the needs of our grandparents when we are unable to.

Being a CNA or caregiver for the elderly can be a taxing position. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly, and learn to appreciate each of these little phases as part of who a person is. While a child or grandchild may visit their elderly relative and see the smiles they have that day for their family, we see the days when they are feeling off, depressed, irritated, and we have to try to find the right words to say to take these feelings away, or in the very least, distract from them. Although not every moment of working with the elderly is peaceful and easy, we also experience beautiful little moments of appreciation from this older generation that make the whole experience so much more than just a job.

We are responsible for making each day worth it for these people, who may no longer find satisfaction in their daily lives. We are the ones who see the little smiles that cross their lips as we help them trim their flowers or bake cookies for their grandchildren so that they may feel useful, and we are the ones who see the frustration in their eyes when they realize that certain things are no longer the same. We are the ones who they hug before they go to bed every night, out of sheer appreciation for the willingness that we have to help them and make their lives as comfortable as possible. We are the ones who take care of their personal needs, and take pride in maintaining dignity for these people in even the most undignified moments. We are the people who try our best and put sweat and tears into helping the elderly transition into these last few stages of life as comfortably as possible.

What is our personal reward for these services, you may ask? No, we don't receive gifts at Christmas from these people, and we most certainly aren't written into the will. Our rewards are less and yet worth so much more than those acts. The elderly hug us when we leave at the end of the day and tell us how much they will miss us, even as almost perfect strangers. In late afternoon as we sit and watch the sun progress down the sky, they tell us of decades past, of hardships and moments of joy endured. They unburden their hearts as they tell us secrets that maybe aren't even meant for their families' ears. When they tell us thank you, they mean it, with eyes full of appreciation and kindness. These little things mean everything, and in so many ways are worth much more than a paycheck.

The next time you visit your elderly grandparents, take a second look at the caregivers who you never paid much attention to. They are the ones who make the world go round for the ones whom you love so much, and what's even better? They enjoy doing so. Working with the elderly is a calling, not a job.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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