This I Believe

Brittny - Highland Heights, Kentucky
Entered on March 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

“I’m going to buy you a comb, honey, so every time you walk behind me you can run it through my hair.” It’s little moments like these when I realize that I believe in the elderly.

I started working at a nursing home about three months ago. To be honest, at first I did not like my job. But as time progressed I began to look forward to going to work because I would be able to talk to my friends. Yes, my friends. I began to form relationships with these people who are over a half a century older than I am. My new friends have taught me that the saying, “older, but wiser,” is indeed true. They have taught me through their words, “Don’t work too hard, Brittny,” and through their actions, like holding and kissing my hand. They have taught me love, perseverance, and kindness. Through watching them, I have learned to be grateful for simple physical capabilities like walking, eating regular foods, and even remembering simple things. Because of them I appreciate things such as sunrises, warm weather, a comb running through my hair, and singing birds. I have learned that I should appreciate life while I am young, but also that growing old isn’t so bad.

Yes, there are the typical “grumpy old men” and women. I have, however, been able to learn from these people also. They have taught me how I do not want to be when I am older, and that living life angry can only make things worse. When I work with these people I try my best to keep smiling, to kill them with kindness. I have found that this can change their attitude completely. It makes me happy to think that I am able to teach these people at least one thing when they have taught me so much.

Of course there are the people whose minds are not completely “there.” To me, these are some of the most fun people to be around because they are not particular or picky, they just want someone to be with and they will be happy. There is this one woman who is always leaving her walker behind. One day, we caught her walking out of the dining room using a chair as a walker, perfectly content to be walking to her room, which she did not know the location of. She has taught me that it’s not always knowing where you are going that is important, it’s having a good time along the way. The elderly I work with move very slowly, but this gives them more time to appreciate what is around them. Now, I try to slow myself rather than rush through life. I only hope that I am able to have as great an impact on young people when I am elderly as the residents I work with have had on me. The ability to teach others without effort is why I believe in the elderly.