Since childhood I have always felt a special bonding and passion towards elderly. I would patiently listen to their stories and enjoy their company which has made me a very empathetic and compassionate human being. Since the age of 9, I would visit Hospice residents and buy gifts for them from my savings. After visiting the residents for 5 years, I was awarded at the top of the Hospice donor tree.
I also started volunteering with my mom through Mease Hospital's friend to friend program, where we assist homebound, sick elders with medication and grocery shopping. One day Delores an 82 yrs old senior called asking for milk. When my mom & I went to deliver it we saw two milk gallons already sitting in her refrigerator. When I asked about them, she said she was feeling very lonely and was longing for company. I understood and thought about research pointing out the increased suicide rate among seniors due to isolation.
One day when we visited Ruby, 97 yrs old, she opened the door and started crying. Finally she said. “You know I lost my husband 18 yrs ago.” We responded yes we know. She said “You know I lost my only son about a year ago,” we said yes we know. She said “You know what? Today I lost my only grandson who died in an accident. I do not know why God left me and took my baby boy. I was feeling very sad, and was not sure how I would pass my day today, I am thankful the Lord sent you to me.” There are hundreds of seniors awaiting a visit. Some are in dire need of love and hand hold or a shoulder to cry on.
Increased longevity and the extremely busy lifestyles of many families have made our most valuable seniors very isolated and vulnerable. The Michigan University research of May 28, 2010, shows youth’s empathy has dropped by 40% in 20 years. Seeing this statistic I decided to implement the bonding of these two generations to decrease the suicide rate amongst the elderly and increase empathy among the youth of today.
|Lavera & Ishan|