Working in a senior facility can be an eye-opening experience. You are responsible for the needs of a senior at all times and must put their needs before yourself. It’s something that volunteers like myself have always enjoyed doing. One of the greatest aspects of the work is your getting to know them and vice versa. Learning more about individual seniors is something that is always engaging. Particularly interesting is how engaged seniors are with the news. They love the news so much that we created a special time during the week for going through the news with them.
According to a study, 58 percent of those 65 years of age and older get their news from cable. That statistic shows that a good number of seniors still enjoy learning about the news. This is in comparison to only 10 percent of those 18 to 29. While television isn’t the only outlet, the evidence is there that seniors engage well with the news. You may be surprised just how many of them are very opinionated when it comes to the many things happening in their local community or the world.
Apart from my experience working in a senior facility, I have experienced my grandparents at their facility and still recall how interested they were in what was happening around them. Up until my grandmother died, she was always engaged with the sports’ season. She loved being able to watch the game and always had feelings about her teams. My grandfather, likewise, was outspoken on a wide variety of issues going on in our government and world. When I ended up going to work at a senior facility as I did when I was younger, I was not surprised at all the facility put on a current events’ activity.
We would all gather around together and start to discuss the news in various newspapers. One of the volunteers would bring up a particular event that happened in the news and we would start to discuss it. There were a wide variety of different opinions on issues. Seniors always get excited about news regarding sports’ teams. While 5.8 million US citizens live with Alzheimer’s, that does not mean they won’t enjoy the news. My grandfather, for example, had Alzheimer’s but he was still aware of who the president was and what was going on in the world. It was always interesting to me.
For the seniors I worked with, many were as concerned about the things going on around them as younger people would be. They were even, perhaps, more engaged than the younger people because they were able to keep track of everything going on better and many came from a different generation that did not have instant headlines on the web, cellphones, or social media. For them, newspapers are still a form of storytelling and enjoy hearing the stories within them.
For anyone else who works in a senior facility or has worked in one, this would be a phenomenal activity to add to your selections for the week. Not only does it help seniors engage with the world around them, it also provides a great way for staff and volunteers to interact with them and learn more about how they feel about things. There’s no shortage of discussion that can be had when you have different newspapers out there and seniors excited to have the chance to voice their opinions on things. This could lead to new friendships through seniors, staff, and volunteers getting to know one another.
Two people might discover they have a mutual love of a certain movie that was featured in the entertainment section of the newspaper. This may lead to a new film for movie night at the facility. There’s no telling what can come from time spent gathering together and discussing the news. It will be time spent well and something that not only improves the lives of the seniors living there but the connections between seniors, staff, and volunteers.
About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, consumer electronics, and the entertainment industry.
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