Archive for July 3rd, 2012
Posted on July 3, 2012 - by Nurse Virginia
It was a memorable event at the Nursing Home. The Boy Scouts came in carrying the flag, and all the elders able to stand, pulled themselves to their feet. The elderly men assembled who had “served” saluted, and everyone said the pledge. The high point of the event was when the elderly residents of the Nursing Home each told their story of the war. One elderly man had received a medal from President Reagan for his contribution in the landing depicted in “Saving Private Ryan.” Having a picture of himself with the president helped those scouts to really see what this man had done.
This is a wonderful time to work in health care. We have the opportunity to take care of “The Greatest Generation.” This was the generation born from 1901 through about 1924. They lived through the Great Depression and served in WWII, or supported the war effort on the home front. These are the elderly who knew how to do without, and knew how to save. These are the people who did the right thing, just because it was the right thing to do.
While these elders are still with us, we still have time to get their stories. What was it like to live through the depression? How did you get by? My mother has told me she thought it was easier doing without during the depression, because no one had anything. You can see the look of pride on her face when she tells people she lived through the depression.
The Greatest Generation was united in the war effort. It was a time when the country was all in agreement about the necessity of the war. Everyone was supporting, serving and praying together, that’s just how they were.
Saving those stories from The Greatest Generation
There is a free Life Story Book on my web site: www.pleasegettoknowme.com – where you will find guidelines on how to write an elder’s story.
Memories of the depression and WWII are more accessible for the elderly because those times were so very emotional. Emotion reinforces a memory. When something emotional happens we tend to:
- Make a conscious decision to remember it.
- Relive the event over and over in our minds.
- Tell others what happened and in so doing hear the story again and again, reinforcing it in our memory.
- Think about the memory, analyze it and even cherish it.
We who are working with these survivors of The Greatest Generation owe it to them to get their stories while we can. Just imagine, one of those Boy Scouts could live to 100, and in 2080 tell his great-grandchildren, he knew someone who served in World War II.
Virginia Garberding, R.N.
Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire
Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance