There is nothing I love more than working to enrich the lives of our seniors. Most of the time I do my work from my office, sometimes referred to (I am quite sure) as an Ivory Tower. But I try to base my decisions on what I know from my past experience working in a Brookdale community. Such was the case with the decision to put iPads into the hands of our residents through the Resident Programs team at each community.
The iPad decision has been affirmed many times over in the form of stories and pictures from our community teams. But this week I spent some time experiencing the result first hand in three Brookdale communities. These are places where we have provided an additional 5 iPads for residents to check out and participate in classes to learn how to use these tools.
During our visits we sat with groups of residents who were eager to learn. Their technology experience ranged from novice to skilled. Each had a specific thing they were interested in learning-Facebook, Emoji’s, games, Google Earth, or just where to begin. Watching them absorb and declare things like, “I am learning that I won’t break this thing-this is fun!” or “Oooh-that’s how you do it.” or “What is she doing? Will you show me how to do that?” Or the best one, “My grandson told me I would not be able to learn this-wait until he sees me.”
I can hardly express my deep sense of fulfillment and pride at observing the residents’ sense of wonder and joy in this process. As I try to unpack what is behind these emotions-I think the most significant thing is that the residents are affirmed by our investment and belief in them. We are not giving them a “senior” version of something, but rather the same device that their kids and grandkids use.
Please don’t misunderstand; I am not saying that we should not specifically design for seniors. But we walk a fine line and must always keep in mind the idea that seniors are adults capable of learning and growing and most of all maintaining autonomy throughout life.
I was given a gift this week-and once again my quest to enrich a life only served to enrich mine all the more. It’s like that. I am most fortunate to do what I love and see it make a difference. I wish the same for you.
Be Well on Purpose!