Since 1963, our country has honored its older citizens during May with Older Americans Month. In the senior industry, every day we celebrate those older Americans who have made significant contributions to their families, communities, and society. This year’s theme is “Never Too Old to Play”. I want to take this time to honor my Uncle Ed, who could be the “poster child” for Older Americans Month 2012.
Last week, I was on my way to the Life Services Network (LSN) Expo in Chicago to connect with elder care professionals. As I approached Navy Pier, I saw a dapper older gentleman dressed in a sport coat and a felt fedora. What a coincidence; it was my Uncle Ed who was about to hop on the bus! I hollered his name. He turned around and greeted me with loving excitement.
Edward Kramer is 83 years young. In 1949, as a recent high school graduate, he took a job for the holiday season with a jewelry company. Over 40 years later, he retired from that industry. He has served in the army, married, raised a family, survived cancer, and considers both Chicago and New York his home. Uncle Ed taught himself to be computer literate; a rare feat among people of his generation.
Uncle Ed stays active. His mantra is “doing nothing produces nothing”. He enjoys his retirement and dedicates his time towards volunteer work. Uncle Ed’s newfound passion with volunteering has allowed him to develop a second set of skills. He would advise the youth of today to get both a good education and career counseling.
When I saw Uncle Ed, he had just finished his almost daily volunteer work at WBEZ Radio, where he helps with data processing. He is involved in the City of Chicago and is working with his condo association to get ready for the upcoming NATO events. He lives in the heart of the red zone with his equally youthful wife, my Aunt LoriLei.
As an elder care professional, I take a moment this May to honor those older Americans we have the privilege of working with daily. When marketing to seniors, elder care professionals must look beyond the client’s current age to consider their rich individual histories and productive lives. Older Americans can teach us all life lessons. I am fortunate to have Uncle Ed in my life and love to hear his interesting stories.
Marla Levie, BSW, MA, President and Founder of Focus on Aging, has successfully been providing marketing consulting, social media and recruiting services to the elder care market and to other service-related professions in the Chicago area for over 20 years. Use the contact tab to email Marla for additional information about her services.