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Spending time with older people is not a chore

We are now at the age to appreciate the presence of older people

by Olivia Wirtz, Writer

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Walking into the nursing home on the first day of service week, I didn’t feel uncomfortable. I didn’t dread it or feel miserable about waking up early on a very cold February day to volunteer. I actually felt excited. Knowing that I would spend my day visiting with the elderly residents made me feel rather content. If you think about it, they have lived through a lifetime. Some of the residents that I talked to had lived through the most difficult times yet they still love to shed light on those memories. Not one of them hesitated to share their life story with me. They were open and honest which was so refreshing.

Through a Netflix series called “Derek,” I have gained so much more appreciation for people over the age of 65. Starring Ricky Gervais, the show is about a man who works every day at a retirement home. The main character, Derek, is so caring towards the residents. He sees his job as the “best job in the whole wide world.” The humor in the show is not offensive but heartwarming. Derek has shown me to find humor in how elderly people operate, but not in a derogatory way.

My grandma lives in an independent living center so I am used to being around the elderly quite often. I love visiting her because she is low maintenance and her visits do not require a lot. We usually sit and watch TV while eating candy. This activity is so simple yet so rewarding. High school is a busy time and having a place to just unwind without having the pressures of possibly “boring” someone with your presence is nice.

Older people also appreciate the little things. They notice minor aspects of the way you look that day or an aspect of your personality. After interacting with people for at least 80 years, most of them have it figured out.

Before I watched Derek, I considered visiting older people as a chore. If I am being really honest, I dreaded visiting because I thought it was boring. Though appreciation of the elderly does come with maturity, I have learned how to spend time with my grandma while being present.

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Spending time with older people is not a chore