We at Straightaway would love to introduce you to Alice Barker. Follow this link see her story. We promise it will be one of the best things you will see this week, and well worth your time.
In the video, sweet Alice Barker is a 102-year-old nursing home resident. What she was seeing, for the very first time, was her younger self as a professional dancer in a 1940s Harlem nightclub. She and her entire family had thought there were no existing tapes of this time until an enterprising young man found the video and brought it to Alice.
Her hands begin to sway and her face lights up when she sees her younger self in these old movies.
If you listen closely and read the closed captioning, you can hear Alice react to the video and recount her story magnificently. She tells the story of how she was dancing when she was just a baby! Cognitively, she is clear as a bell.
Can you imagine growing up in the Harlem Renaissance or all the stories sweet Ms. Barker could tell? The things she has seen in her one hundred plus years upright on this earth? Think of all the technology, social changes, wars and outcomes that have transpired in her time.
Would it surprise you that you might have some Alices in your workplace? While Alice’s life experiences surely seem exotic, each resident or elder you care for has similar stories. Maybe not dancing in Harlem, but they do have their own fascinating stories. Some could have been immigrants to this country – dealing with learning a new culture or language. Some may have built and sold a business, got to meet or work with someone famous or experienced the joy and sorrow one sees when raising a family.
Caregiving is hard work, but it can be very rewarding work. It is all in what you make it. Take a moment to find out who your Alices are and realize what they can bring to you personally and professionally.
Rather than see sweet Alice as a 102-year-old set of tasks and responsibilities, we have the power to really see Alice as a person with a rich history and plenty of stories to tell. That’s the part that many don’t get from us, and a part they miss terribly. They want to matter. They want to feel as though their life is still exciting. What better way than through communicating their stories with the people who are providing their care?
We at Straightaway Health Careers are passionate about providing training and orientation programs for new CNAs that are both rigorous and provide a real world, empathetic lens for new hires to understand what care-giving for the whole person is all about.