April 9

Assisted Living Residents Highlight How Much Life Has Changed

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

A year ago as COVID-19 began impacting the senior living, assisted living and memory care communities Gardant manages, we embarked on an initiative to engage residents.

We asked residents questions about their experiences and their memories. What was their childhood like? What they did when school was out? What games did they play?

As adults, what did they do for fun? What television shows did they watch? What movies? What types of music did they listen to? What are their favorite memories? What are the biggest changes they have seen in the world?

Their responses, whether having lived in a major metropolitan area, a smaller town or in a rural environment, illustrate how much life has changed over the decades.

As children after school let out, homework and helping around the house most often came first. Play happened only if and when chores and homework were finished. Play back then was outside, unless weather did not allow.

Jump rope, hopscotch, hide and seek, jacks, and all kinds of ball games were the most frequently mentioned games residents played growing up. Monopoly was the most mentioned board game.

Other games referenced by residents included checkers and Chinese checkers; dress-up; house and school; fox and hen; horseshoes; kick-the-can; Mother-May-I; pick-up sticks; red rover; and tag.

As one resident commented, we did homework and then went outside to play until dinner. No one was sitting or on a phone.

Another mentioned pulling weeds, mowing the yard, carrying wood; and feeding chickens.

Another talked about going barefoot and helping Mom with housework and laundry. My Mom, she noted, taught me how to cook and bake.

What they did for fun as adults included going to dances and the movies; visiting family and friends; playing cards, music, and sports; baking; sewing; gardening; camping; boating; and fishing.

For so many, their favorite memories revolved around their family, their spouse, and their children.

Their comments about the biggest changes they have seen in the world also highlight just how much the world has changed.

There were no electric lights; no plumbing; no bathroom; no running water; no television; no air conditioning. We had no washer and dryer. We lived at a slower pace. We had quietness and time for each other.

            There is a much faster pace to life today; people do not interact with each other.

            TV reports news so fast you don’t know what is true.

            There are so many different ways to travel.

            The price of food, gas, and housing is much higher.

The advent of Facebook, seat belts, copy machines, computers, tablets, paying monthly for cable, working from home, the growth of the economy, and more female executives.

            The extent to which the computer and social media have taken over.

The advent of computer technology and the rise to dominance of the Internet, with all of its information and misinformation along with the resultant social and political effects.

People are more self-absorbed. The lack of manners among young people. Less respect for each other.

            So many now who think they are entitled.

            Family relationships don’t seem to be important.

Too many Moms and Dads are so busy trying to make more money for their kids they don’t have the time to be with them and show them that they love them.

What are your thoughts?

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