Last week, I attended the annual DC Senior Resource Group “Un-program”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the group, The DC Senior Resource Group meets the first Monday of every month at The Methodist Home in Washington, DC from 8:00 – 9:45 a.m. It provides professionals and seniors with an opportunity to network and learn more about topics related to older adults. This month’s Un-program was a departure from the usual monthly lecture style meetings. Rather, on the agenda was a facilitated discussion by experienced professionals in the field of aging.
I had the pleasure of participating in a discussion facilitated by our very own Care Manager, Jane Lincoln. Her topic was, “What lessons have we gleaned from working with seniors that we can apply to our own aging?” The lively discussion among a diverse group of 20-somethings to individuals in their 80s highlighted the knowledge and wisdom seniors impart to us regardless of their physical ability, cognitive functioning, formal education or socioeconomic status.
Much of what was shared related to the importance of strong relationships, the ability to redefine ourselves, and the importance of preparing for the future by taking up interests now that can continue to be enjoyed well into our later years. We discussed long-term care and our need to save now for the expenses that we can likely expect. Most of us recognized the importance of downsizing throughout our lifetime and making changes to our environment in anticipation of common physical changes that come with aging. Mostly, we shared the significance of enjoying the present and making sure that we take time for pleasure and leisure.
I fully believe that my work with older adults has helped me count my blessings and see the strength and beauty in people of all ages and walks of life. I am grateful for the small and not so small nuggets of knowledge that my clients have shared with me over the years. Often my clients have thanked me for my work with them. But I should really be thanking them – for their impact on me has been great and has paved the way for my future.
Stephanie Chong, LICSW, is the Director of Seabury Resources for Aging’s Care Management service. Care managers work with older adults on an individual basis to advise them on a variety of issues and services; such as home care, transportation, medical/legal assistance and housing. Families are put at ease having a knowledgeable guide to provide recommendations and resources to meet their unique needs. This expertise can save families money and reduce stress and time away from work. Stephanie can be reached at (202) 364-0013 or via email her at SChong@seaburyresources.org.