Thursday, June 9, 2016

Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes ~ by, Angela Ocuto

Ashe Library's delivery program exists to provide library materials to people that love to read but are home-bound.  Once a month, as Ashe Library's Outreach Specialist,  I visit  home-bound citizens and bring them books that they enjoy.  But to them it's more than just receiving books and entertainment. 

Angela Ocuto, Ashe Library Outreach Specialist
A lot of people that I visit are very lonely.  It’s common for some people to go long periods of time without seeing anyone on a social level.  Just to have someone talk with and make them feel as if they are still important is pretty major.   
Today everyone is so busy keeping up with jobs and their own lives that often the elderly are thought of last in the long list of things to do. It’s important to remember that we wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for our older generations. We have them to thank for all the progress that has been made in our society.

Yet some often get frustrated with the elderly. Remember their bodies are aging, changing, and not cooperating with their wishes. While they may still feel as young as you or I, they can no longer do the things that they once used to with such ease. Simple tasks that we take for granted are more difficult and take longer for them.  Imagine how this would be. Imagine something that you love to do. Something that brings you a lot of joy. Now imagine that you are no longer able to do what you love, because your body is no longer as strong and able.

Visit the library at 2:00 p.m. on June 15 for a special program that simulates what aging is like.  We have a series of activities for you to perform while trussed up in our gear.   This will give  give you some understanding of what it’s like to feel young, but no longer be able to do all the things that you want to.

Empathy is the ability to understand another  person’s circumstances, point of view, thoughts and feelings. With sympathy you feel sorry for someone, but you don’t necessarily understand what they are feeling. With empathy you are placing yourself in that person’s circumstances and reflecting on their thoughts and feelings. That’s our program's goal for you ... to have you understand and “Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes”.

It’s easy to get frustrated with someone when you don’t understand what they are going through or because they seem to be “not cooperating” or “too   demanding.” I hope that you will perform these exercises and empathize with our elderly citizens. Show them kindness and give them the respect that they deserve.

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