Let’s Preserve the Senior Citizen Generation Gap: Lifework Guest Post by Tom Ratcliff

I am always being reminded by my 16 year old how out of touch I am; or how I don’t take enough time to just have fun; or all I think about is getting my projects done; or I worry too much about how much things cost, or, or, or.

I am sure my son’s generation will do just fine (as long as their mothers follow them all through life picking up after them). It’s just how we go about getting there that’s a lot different. I was taught to plan, prepare and perform (in other words – Git-er done!) My son thinks it should be done either by mom, dad someone else, or later on after his buddies go home.

Then, There’s My Father’s Generation.

My Father passed away several years ago, but I could never keep up with him. He worked 8 to 10 hours a day after he retired (and he didn’t need to work) but the simple truth is Dad enjoyed working.

Work to my Dad was his spiritual tonic. He was more in touch with Life when he was building or repairing something. He also enjoyed helping a neighbor, friend or even a stranger who wasn’t as skilled as him. Dad never, ever bragged about his accomplishments.  He simply was a “doer” and not a talker. If something needed done he did it.

When we went on vacation and stayed in the same an old apartment year after year Dad would go around and repair whatever needed fixing … yep, no kidding.  Mrs. McCool, the owner, used to chuckle and say, “Thanks Les. Where were you 40 years ago when I was looking for a good husband?”

I guess dad measured his worth by his daily work output. Dad’s generation was raised by Great Depression parents and everyone had to work and earn as much as possible just to survive.

That’s why I believe it is healthy to have the senior citizen generation available to the younger generation.

There’s a lot of valuable information and inspiration to be shared between the two of them.  I talk to seniors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes who would love an opportunity to share their stories. I hope more sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters take their children to visit an elder relative stuck at home or in a senior care center so they too can develop a relationship and share each other’s precious moments.

Tom Ratcliff

Tom Ratcliff is the co-founder of the National Senior Living Providers Network www.NSLPN.com, an online community for senior care professionals. Tom’s favorite pastime is reading or writing about the personal side of Senior Living. “I have fond memories of my father and grandfather. I always admired their sense of humility and their commitment to providing a helping hand to neighbors, friends and strangers as well.”

copyright 2010 by Tom Ratcliff