I went to a training this week and was reminded of the importance of listening to what people tell us about what is meaningful in their lives. The presenter sang a version of The Rolling Stones You Can’t Always Get What you Want, but instead he sang “You get what we think you need”. The takeaway here is that people tell us all the time what they need from us, yet we let our assumptions distract us from the real message, and we make quick interpretations and assumptions.
I think this applies to all of us-we all need to be better listeners, in particular to Older Adults. What makes life meaningful for them? How can we keep those things intact when people need support from family friends and formal service providers.
A recent conversation with my Mother in Law, an expert family cook who now has her meals provided by her assisted living, reminded me of this. She lit up when discussing the special glaze she made for her ham loaf. We discussed how much we enjoyed it at holidays and provided an opportunity to ask her how she made the glaze. I saw the same spark of interest when she discussed the way she prepared rhubarb, which she has often called “the Spring tonic”. Here is a photo of her preparing her own rhubarb sauce where she resides.