Maya Angelou stated “ I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This past year, I became a full time caregiver to my dad. It is not my first experience taking care of someone elderly. During a break between school, I took care of my neighbor’s mother, prompting me to change my major from psychology to nursing. And then while in nursing school, I stayed at night with a ninety six year woman and her sixty six year old daughter. When my grandmother, Mam Maw, was no longer able to live independently, she stayed with my parents for six months and then with my Aunt for the rest of the year, and I assisted with her care.

During this past year, out of 365 days of the year, my dad and I were at national chain for breakfast 363 days. And I noticed that for many my dad had disappeared. Most assumed that since he was elderly that I would be placing, and paying, for the order. After a while it got really old. And honestly I wasn’t sure how to handle it. I ended up just pointing to my dad when they came for the order, and when they came back with the check.

Not that I am only pointing fingers at the young servers, even two different local physicians plied me with questions first. Again, I would re-direct them to my Dad. Because even with aging and dementia, my father has value and needs acknowledgement.

Recently at work, we took a survey on horizontal violence, which in a nutshell is diminishing another person’s worth, by sarcasm, ridicule, or excluding that individual or individuals. Some examples are when co-workers are making plans for lunch, or after hours drinks, or even friending others on Facebook but ignoring others. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? If you have children that are attending school, then they have probably faced this before. There, they call it a form of bullying.

Have you notice that people ignore the elderly? Have you experienced horizontal violence at work, or have your kids experienced bullying?  Do your “pass it forward good deed today” by acknowledging another individual’s worth and value.

– Leigh AAR

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