I find myself here writing about my job and why it is unlike any other job because the most touching moment of all my time working here, at the senior home, happened today.
I was talking to Tom, one of the residents I see daily, about how I will be leaving for school again in a month. He sat and chatted with me about typical things, such as school, scholarships, and how proud of me he was, then got up and left. Later in my shift, he came and pulled me aside and told me something that made my heart ache & my eyes fill up with tears, he said:
“I know I won’t be seeing you for a while once you leave for college and I just want to say how much I appreciate you and your serving. I want you to know how much I like you, kid. I’m going to miss my favorite little worker around here. Just please try to remember me.”
That last line completely overcame me with emotions. You see, at the senior home, you never quite know if your interaction with someone could be your last. You never know when someone is going to slip and fall and severely injure themselves or, much worse, have a heart attack. I lost it just thinking about the possibility that something could happen to sweet little old Tom while I am away at school and that this summer could very well be our goodbye💔
It was in this exact moment that I realized how much not only I really cared about each and every one of these beautiful residents, but how much my simple decision to serve those residents had truly meant to them.
Today’s seemingly “normal” shift turned into such a heartfelt realization that left me in tears. I now see work as something other than work. My seemingly “normal” job was really such a blessing in disguise. Never have I ever felt so much appreciation and adoration for simply doing what is listed in my job description. Never have I ever realized how important my choice to be positive at work really is. Never have I ever felt so attached to someone solely on daily encounters and small talk.
Before my job at the senior home, I never thought I would be saying that working with old people is one of the best jobs you could possibly ever have. It’s such a great learning experience. It shows you what true joy and thankfulness really looks like. And most importantly, it teaches you how to appreciate every single moment of every single day.
If you ever get the chance in your lifetime to work with elders, take it. Take it and choose to make a difference in someone’s day. Take it and learn to treat these elders as people and not their sicknesses. Take it and realize how grateful you should really be for simple life pleasures. Take it and work in memory care where you’ll learn to treat the elders as if they’re sane, even if they’re not, because with their illness, it’s their reality. Take it and truly serve the older generation, like they once served you. Take it and realize you might be their only visitor for the whole week, so you should make it a positive encounter. Most importantly, take it and make their gloomy days in the senior home just a little bit brighter every time you come in to work.