I was reminded of this a few days ago when I went to get a tattoo. A friend of mine and I went to a local tattoo studio. I did a lot of research and spent a lot of time picking out just the right tattoo.
As the artist was finishing my design, a big guy, dressed in a t-shirt with a saying I won't share with you here, came over to look at what his friend was creating.
My design has a lotus flower in it which I wanted done in color. He looked at it, smiled and said, "I see you chose Teal and Magenta for your flower - beautiful!" I remember thinking, this guy, with every inch of this skin tattooed, a lot of piercings, and head shaved, actually knew what teal and magenta were and that they weren't just blue and red.
I smiled, thanked him and told him how surprised I was that he came up with those names for the colors in my my tattoo. He simply smiled a very big smile and said "thank you" and walked away.
The moral of this story is; don't judge a book by its cover. This was a man which many of us might not talk to because of how we perceived him to be, based only on his look and his clothes.
In the same way, don't judge any of our seniors by their covers. Even if they have memory problems, physical limitations, and may act differently than we might expect, we don't know what they've been through, or what they are suffering with every day. We don't know that they might have been presidents of companies, teachers, doctors, lawyers; very productive in their younger lives.
They may have been dancers in Broadway plays, violin soloists with the Phoenix symphony, great artists and musicians, pro golfers, or heavily decorated veterans - all of which I've actually met during assessments for in-home care here in the valley!
Take the time to ask them about their younger days, their families and their accomplishments. They love to talk about their lives. They just need to be asked and need to know someone is interested.
We're all speeding through our lives with fast cars, many responsibilities, cell phones, computers, and never ending technology, but do we take the time to listen to our seniors? Maybe we could actually learn something from them!
Try it, you might be surprised at what you find out. Don't judge a book by its cover!