By Calm Pond
As the Summer Solstice will soon be upon us, now is a good time to sit back and reflect on how things are going, as it is now mid-point in the year 2019. Late Spring finds me visiting Hollyburn House in West Vancouver, where the charming Nicole lent me two excellent books: the one; ‘Seabiscuit’ and the other; ‘How to Say it to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with our Elders’, by David Solie (Penguin, 2004). This book ought to be required reading for every caregiver.
In the beginning of the book, Solie addresses the issue of how communicating with our elders can be very frustrating at times. This he believes is the result of a gap between the baby boomer generation and the older generation that lived through the Great Depression and World War II. In order to communicate effectively, Solie reasons, we must forever banish the notion that when you’re really old, everything goes downhill. Yes, it’s true some of the elderly have physical frailties or perhaps a touch of senility, but Solie thinks this is doing our elders a disservice, because in fact, our elders have a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to share with us.
Solie posits the theory that seniors have two ‘developmental drivers’ and that these will directly impact our communication with them. The first driver is the need for control. Imagine, when you’re old-old, the extent of loss that you have to grieve for: job, identity, social position, financial issues, health issues, loss of friends and family, and so on. We must put seniors back in the driver’s seat, Solie recommends.
And when we do, things will go a lot smoother, and be more peaceful. In addition, once we have achieved this harmony between ourselves as middle-aged and our elders, we will be ready to tackle the second developmental driver, which is, the need to leave a legacy. We all want to be remembered in some way, to pass something on to the next generation. This is a deep-seated need in all of us. Solie recommends we take the time to really talk with our elders, and act as facilitators, in the elder’s journey towards leaving a legacy.
If we do this vital work, Solie says we will be all the richer for it, and when our turn comes, we will know what to do, and how to articulate our needs. I highly recommend this book for its deep wisdom and above all, the sense of how important it is to truly respect our elders. This goes contrary to society’s obsession with youth and the ‘Pepsi generation’.
And now yes, as promised: dark chocolate. In Romm’s book: ‘The Adrenal and Thyroid Revolution’, (p.153) she informs me that dark chocolate is actually good for you. It’s rich in magnesium, supports healthy brain function, reduces blood pressure, and, most importantly, makes us happy because it’s a natural mood booster. It keeps cholesterol in check and is a powerful anti-oxidant. The only stipulation is that the chocolate has to be at least 72% dark (or higher). Didn’t muppet Miss Piggy say something about chocolate? Remember the ‘Muppet Show?’
Peace to you all.