A Rock Legend Imparts Wisdom to Long-Term Care Executives

April 14, 2016 Mark Gibbons


By Chauncey Kupferschmid, Vice President Sales, SmartLinx Solutions

April 14, 2016

Association of Jewish Aging ServicesThe Association of Jewish Aging Services annual gala was held in St. Petersburg, Florida, on April 4th, 2016.

The keynote speaker for the event was none other than Peter Yarrow, of the legendary rock group Peter, Paul and Mary. This band was a cornerstone of the Peace and Love, acceptance era that defined a generation of music and social causes that still resonate clearly today.

It was a treat for all in attendance to hear Peter speak, and sing, with a message that is universal in time, and one in which for the Senior Care and aging communities, is a never-ending quest to provide service, care, and compassion.

Among the key themes that Peter spoke of, some major points resonated with a room full of business owners, CEO’s, CFO’s, and leadership executives in the Health Care community.

Sense of duty, moral obligation, and responsibility

The frailty of old age afflicts the rich and poor, educated and uneducated, strong and weak. As the global population of Senior Citizens increases, the sense of duty, moral obligation, and sheer responsibility of family members and care givers to provide support and compassion is never ending.

All religions urge their followers to respect parents, especially in their old age. Parents provide their best to their children in the form of care, food, education and much encouragement along the life journey. But gradually the parents reach the age when they themselves cannot earn anymore and desperately need the help of family and their loved ones. Thus, it becomes incumbent on the children to behave as loving adults with the parents and make good their deficiency.

Aging parents may be considered a best and final opportunity to return what they have received from parents in their childhood. Most aging parents feel loneliness. A family member, loved ones, being present and involved, staying consistent with visits, listening, communicating, and often times just “being”, make a positive and profound impact to their aging loved ones.

A cheerful, optimistic outlook, along with a smile, is of the greatest importance in helping to face the infirmities of age. How refreshing it is to encounter an elderly person still managing to live well in spite of some real infirmity. How sad to find another person with some minor health issues just about to give up and die because of depression and discouragement.

Make the time, make the commitment, with an open heart and sense of honor as your parents and family members advance in age. This approach makes a lasting positive impact in your life, and those you serve.

What we do sets the teaching example for future generations

Care and compassion for the elderly is not a new concept. Yet still, with the advancement of technology, busy schedules, work and life challenges, the 24/7 world in which we now live, can have consequences with time management and fulfillment of personal commitment and duty for our aging communities.

The seeds that we sew today, and how the younger generation observes this behavior, will have a lasting impact on the next generation of citizens who reach the elderly stage of their life. Being responsible parents to our young, reaffirming the commitment of love and care to those who took care of us, is a daily teaching moment not to be lost, for any reason.

In teaching, the art of listening, compassion, and leading by example, leave the best and longest lasting impressions that can properly shape the mindset of the younger generations. Always show respect through manners, being present, and being patient.

For example:

  • Stand when an older person needs a seat. Whether it is on public transportation, in a waiting room or anywhere else for that matter. Another key point is to do so with grace and dignity, not because the person is older than you. Do it because they matter as a human being. In thinking this way, you’ll find your attitude shifts a great deal for the better.


  • Do not shout or speak loudly at an elderly person assuming that he or she is deaf or stupid. Being old doesn’t necessarily mean hard-of-hearing and it doesn’t mean they’re stupid. If anything, older people are much wiser than you, they’ve seen it all and some and have a few good tips for improving your way of living, too.


  • Memories are extremely important, and sharing in the beauty of one’s life journey, is a joy that knows no limits. The best history lesson of your life, your family history, world events, culture, politics, religious views, the things that shaped your parents or elderly loved ones, still carries immense meaning to them. It should to you as well.

“This Little Light of Mine”

Peter Yarrow did an exemplary job of communicating these ideals, and others, to a senior group of leaders who have made it their life’s work, commitment, and passion to provide care and service for the elderly. The gift we can all give is that of love, peace, understanding, and compassion to our fellow brothers and sisters in life.

The beauty and possibility of this rang true as Peter ignited a spark with several memorable hits. This one classic in particular embodies what is possible for everyone to give, daily, especially to our elders and the aging community.

Let love, peace, and joy resonate through the light you shine on others.


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