Caregiver Blog, News Feeds, Video Feeds, Useful Links

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Caregivers and Seniors Take a Look at the 20th Century

Looking at the 1900's through the eyes of seniors who experienced the historical events, and whose lives were often impacted by them, can help caregivers to relate to seniors. For instance, a 90 year old person, born in 1917, would have been a ten year old child in 1927. This person might remember hearing adults discussing World War I, the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, and Charles Lindbergh, who made the first solo transatlantic flight in "The Spirit of St. Louis," in 1927.

The book "The Astonishing Century" by Robert Joyce is one of the good books for nudging someone's memory of the 20th century.

Some of the people I've assisted have been over 95 years old and they remember the roaring 20's and the flappers.

A person who is 80 years old in 2007 was born in 1927, and would remember the impact of The Great Depression of the 1930's in America. Growing up during the depression era included the stock market crash, the dust bowl, migrations of people moving from the midwest to California, and poverty.

Some of the seniors tell me that to this day they collect objects they no longer need because they grew up with so little that they can't bear to part with hard earned possessions.

Someone who is 70 years old in 2007 was born in 1937, and would remember a childhood growing up during World War II. In 1958 the Explorer I, the first American satellite, was launched and the space program was on its way. This person would have been 20 years old when Elvis Presley, hoola hoops, poodle skirts, and rock'n around the clock was "in".

I know one senior who still has a huge collection of records from that time, and hopes to get a record player to listen to them for old times sake, even though the music is available in other formats now.

A 60 year old person, born in 1949, was a teen-ager when the Beatles were popular and may remember their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show singing "I Wanna Hold Your Haaaaand." This person was a teenager or young adult during the Viet Nam war, the demonstrations, hippies, flower children, and the first man on the moon.

I am in my 50's so I really did grow up with the hippies, the musical "Hair", and Viet Nam.

Some time when you are caregiving, and feel the need to start a conversation, try asking a senior citizen about one of these historical events and ask what he or she was doing at that time.
You can go to or any number of websites for history timelines.

For instance, you could ask a person who is in the 70's what it was like when Elvis first came on the scene, and whether this person ever tried a hoola hoop!

No comments: