Aging Class Helps Younger People Better Understand the Elderly

An aging class called Ageless Wisdom is now being offered by UPMC Senior Services.  It is being taught by gerontology educator Betty Robinson.

This is interesting because we should face the need  for better understanding of our elderly.  We can’t always identify with  their daily struggles.  Of course, we often think we can.  After all, many of us are either part time and full time caregivers. Could we be wrong?

I have shared some of the struggles since my Dad’s recent injury.  I still feel inadequate  as I help care for him. That’s in spite of the fact we are doing better adjusting to the scores of tiny challenges his new disability brings.

Dad has difficulty climbing in and out of bed, not to mention his wheelchair.  Dressing and bathing are now major challenges.  All the little things those of us who are younger take for granted can be huge mountains of struggle for seniors.

The aging class helps students feel the normal changes many seniors go through as they age such as macular degeneration and other eye diseases.  These problems can cause driving and walking problems as well as trouble taking medications.

We don’t realize that the elderly can’t always see the colors of pills and that helps explain why they often get their pills confused and mixed up.

All of this illustrates a story I saw on the news tonight about a 93-year old woman’s house catching on fire.  Fire fighters found her in her bathtub when they arrived.  She had been trying to escape the fire and believed that was the safest place in the house.

Getting into the minds of our elderly is important as we learn more about aging and what it does to us mentally as well as physically.   The more we can feel empathy for them  the better compassionate care we can provide.  Understanding them will also help us understand ourselves  since we will be taking their place as we age.

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