An Introduction with Sally Gelardin: Engagement at AgeSong
Dr. Sally Gelardin, AgeSong’s Regional Engagement & Education Director, welcomes the 2015/2016 Gero-Wellness interns to the program with a talk about engagement in AgeSong’s Eldercare Communities.
Sally opens her introduction with a short description of her background. Then she describes what Engagement means. She says:
Engagement is the meaningful connections we make and this is not just activities, because activities are something that you do. Engagement is something you experience. It’s not enough to facilitate an activity. What you really want is to see each person’s eyes light up. You’d like to see eyes light up in every member of your group. Even if you are with a person one-on-one, you want to see that person’s eyes light up. That means you have made a meaningful connection.
Sally talks about working with elders as the most rewarding job of her life, as well as the most challenging.
She gives an example of a writing group, which might include elders with a wide range of abilities. Perhaps only a few members in the group can write without assistance. How can you facilitate a writing group when only a few members of the group can write? The key is volunteers and family members to help those who cannot express themselves in writing.
As she explains, “Meaningful communication can be expressed in many ways. You initially see someone who doesn’t move a muscle, is in a wheel chair, and can barely move her head. When you see her eyes light up, it makes your day. It’s incredible. ”
Sally closes her introduction with a “Welcome, Enjoy!” to the 2015/2016 participants of the Pacific Institute Gero-Wellness Training Program.
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