One common theme that was echoed often from the seniors was that we should live life with an optimistic viewpoint and be open to failure. I remember my grandma used to tell me that in life we need to find a balance and care for every part of ourselves in a holistic way spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically because they are all connected. I did not understand this or see the importance of this message until I entered college and realized that when I did not take care of one part of myself, the other parts were affected. Similarly, the seniors echoed advice similar to that because they said to make sure to take care of yourself and not to focus too much on the external things because when the external things are gone, you are left with what you have internally. A strong mind will be able to persevere and I can see that in the seniors.
The second thing I learned was that everyone, no matter how old or young they are, wants to feel connected to people through meaningful conversations. I remember during the senior wellness day for my group’s HAP, many of the seniors were looking for someone to talk to. It was not the free things we offered them or the services that made them truly happy, but it was the meaningful conversations we had about their family or goals that their eyes started gleaming. I remember one senior in particular was very enthusiastic to share with my table about his home country, Peru, and some of the history too.
Overall though, the program helped me expand my understanding of humanity and the aging population and I hope to take on these lessons and stories with me on my own journey in life.