More on Communicating With the Aging

The changing of the guard looks so easy and classy when the military does it. The ritual, at least in certain venues, is almost a perfect replacement of one person for another. But that’s tradition, and the aging process has nothing to do with tradition. It is about physical, mental, and emotional changes and nothing, as I see it, to cheer about.

I speak only for myself; others may view their aging process as something they have earned. A just reward for having lived a productive life. And there are others who cry and long for what is no more and, worse, what can never be again. Not enough? There are those that fear, absolutely fear death and nothingness. I fear none of this any more than not fearing the Typhoon and the giant waves on our way to Okinawa. Events dictate not us humans. I’ve always dealt with the events. It’s why I like the word “serendipity.”

Here are a few words for having good communication and even dialogue with an aging person important to you. Be as present with them as possible. Listen, I mean seriously listen, and don’t take their words as if coming from a senile mind. Tell them what you hear being said and think about what you understand. Don’t play and try to make them feel good, but be with them, where they are at, and at all costs, be who you really are and feel. When you are given the time and space to respond, be candid. They will see through any “sugar coating.”

When I visited my father after his stroke, he motioned with his hand cutting across his throat. He was ready to die, and I made sure he saw my eyes when I approved his plea. He died soon after he was given my support. Isn’t that what love means? Honest support for those we love?

Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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