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Elder Wisdom: Serving Others is the Answer

(Article previously published on the Ansari Family Sadaqa blog.)

I absolutely LOVE caring for the elder community. I initially decided on this field because 1) it is important to me that people who have lived so long- often having given back to others for most their lives, and in many cases opened doors for my generation and beyond- should be made as comfortable as possible in their last days, and 2) I figured if there was any humbling that I needed to make me a better person, THIS was the job to do it. I also knew that if I kept my ears and mind opened, there would be wisdom for the taking, jewels that I could use throughout my life, and pass onto others who would understand their value. Boy, was I right!

An example of this happened recently. I was feeding an 80-year old recently disabled woman. I am a nurse so technically it is not a "job requirement" to do so, but I actually like being hands-on with my residents (plus, I love to show my aides that I am a team player, unlike many nurses, much to an aide's chagrin). Although she gave me the opening to have someone else help her, I declined and began to cut the morsels into bite-sized chunks.

We sat watching the news, chatting during rests, and I listened attentively as she spoke:

"Do you know what I've learned?" she asked.

"What's that?" I answered, thoroughly interested in her coming words.

"Do you know how they talk about the Kingdom? Many people don't believe the Kingdom exists, but do you know what the Kingdom really is? People... serving people," she stated emphatically. And I agreed wholeheartedly.


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