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3 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Taking Care Of Elders

3 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Taking Care Of Elders

What can you do when you are broke, you’ve lost all your hope in landing a decent job and your life is literally falling into pieces?

Most people just take a couple of days and rethink their entire existence, planning their next step; the step that is going to put them back on track. But I know someone who took one of the biggest challenges you could think of: my friend got hired at an elders caring facility.

He’s been working there for less than one year, but when I met him I noticed how much he changed. He is not the same guy, even if he still wears red sneakers and he puts his baseball cap in reverse. He is a changed man. He made me realize that working in healthcare is a rewarding and character-building activity, which leaves a strong mark on anyone who is daring enough to take up this huge responsibility. That elderly care facility turned my friend, who was a mamma’s boy, a spoiled, winning kid, into a real man. He’s not a kid anymore, he’s a man!

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From a broke e-cig addict to a responsible adult

My friend, let’s call him A, finished his studies with a major in Art and tried to secure a job, but failed each time. He worked as a dishwasher, he walked dogs, he even worked as a real estate agent’s assistant. But he was kicked out from all these jobs. Without perspectives, he moved back to his small town and started to look for a job. Any job! He found a job in healthcare, at a medical facility, no experience needed.

After the interview and all the check-ups, he landed at an assisted living house, where he is taking care of senior people. Despite the fact that all his other colleagues have a degree in gerontology or at least a degree in healthcare administration, my friend was accepted and he actually enjoys his work.

He makes sure none of the 60 seniors falls while moving around, he gives occasional haircuts, he makes sure everyone is well fed and wash. Then, he takes his time to learn from them, by simply being their companion, which taught him important life lessons.

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1.You learn to care more

Elders care more than millennials and younger generations are capable of caring. While working with elders and being around them daily, you simply learn that the small things are important in life. That is what makes one care about his life, other people’s life and the environment.

When you care, you go that extra mile without feeling you’ve done it. You listen, you really listen, when you care, which comes with a huge advantage both in your personal life and your professional life.

2. You learn to value humans and human interaction

Millennials are good at technology, but this has made us more like robots. We text, we send emoticons and we know how to chat over the latest apps, but we have no idea what to do when we are face to face with another human, without a phone.

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This lack of human interaction made young generations insensitive to fellow humans. Working with living people who can share loads of stories with you, as well as hugs, is going to make you value humans more than you value your smartphone. You are going to become a real human again, stripped of all the technology that surrounds us daily. This is going to improve your social skills, which will benefit your relationships.

3. Life is a struggle

When you take care of seniors, they will share with you, their own struggles of life. As millennials, we have a lot to endure, from the fact we can’t afford a house to the inability to secure a high-paying job and to raise kids. But when you listen to what older generations had to endure, you realize life is a struggle for everyone.

My friend’s new senior friends had to deal with wars, the threat of nuclear apocalypse and economic depression. Despite all these, they managed to raise kids and have successful careers.

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They are the living proof that us, the millennials, are going to thrive, even if some of us now seem to hit the rock bottom. Yes, we are in a huge student debt, which is a new challenge, but our grandparents also had to deal with the atomic bomb, which was a new challenge at the time.

In conclusion, life is a struggle for everyone, so just go out there and fight. You will manage to craft yourself a beautiful life, just like our elders did.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via hd.unsplash.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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