Social Entrepreneurs for Seniors


caregiving, elderly help

by Mary Beth Sammons
Social entrepreneur" seems to be the new buzzword in the world where many are reinventing themselves - not always by choice, but because of job loss and uncertain times. Certainly, I praise the idea of reinventing oneself to champion the cause of those who have little or none, to help make changes in society and to seek work that creates meaning.

But, I also suggest that as caregivers for our elderly parents, we are trailblazers on the path of social entrepreneurism - with a slight twist. Our daily job, even if and when it is sandwiched in-between caring for our own kids, maintaining a job and helping our aging parents, is what I'd like to call suggest a new title: "social entrepreneurs for seniors."

Think about it. Isn't that what you do, we do? Aren't we helping to give voice to the voiceless? Aren't we making a difference in the lives of people who need us?

In one of the books I wrote, I interviewed dozens of people who at mid-life, stepped off the fast track to purposefully reinvent to make a difference in the lives of others:  :  Second Acts That Change Lives: Making a Difference in the World (Conari, 2009).

Here are some qualities and driving beliefs I discovered that are part of their everyday, and I'd like to offer, part of the motivations behind those of us who are caregivers when we are intent on doing so out of altruism and compassion:

1.    Tragedy and adversity are transformable.  We can transform the hardships our parent's face, into teaching moments for ourselves, and moments that are not quite so difficult for them, because they have shoulders to lean on. They have us.

2.    Zeal makes a difference When we approach our roles as caregivers with passion and energy, instead of resentment and another checklist on our business daily planners, it makes all the difference.

3.    Driven by a giving heart.  We must be.
4.    Champions, a voice for the voiceless. Part of our role is to be the advocates for our parents. People.
5.    Perseverance: Every one of the second act re-inventors I met had the mantra "I think I can. I think I can." The key to facing each day as caregiver is to keep on carrying on, even when it is an uphill climb.

Do you see your role as caregiver in an altruistic light? How so? Please share your thoughts here.


2 Responses

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by steve Joyce, Michael Kramer. Michael Kramer said: Social Entrepreneurs for Seniors | Elder Care ABC [...]
  2. I was laid off in March at 50 and took the opportunity to go in a new direction and upgrade my career. I'm am learning web design at the local community college and studying everything I can find on social media. In September I landed an internship with managing their social networks. My passion is to help seniors connect online in vibrant communities with their families, friends and those with similar interests in a safe and simple way. Your post described my life in ways I have not seen articulated. It's nice to know that I am not alone out here.
  3. I love Glen's comment. Many of us are looking at a chance for a second career to be something we feel passionate about. Our community is passionate about helping seniors live independently in ther own homes for as long as possible. Active vibrant seniors who want to help are matched to those who need help. It is a wonderful thing to see these relationships develop into friendships.

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