I used to work in nursing homes. I had a special practitioner license and served as the Consultant Pharmacist of Record for about 11 nursing homes across Florida.
Most of the residents were seniors, with a few folks who were very sick or terminal.
Part of my job was to write monthly medical orders to the physicians to discontinue prescribed medications and lower dosages all with one goal: Make the resident (the patient) feel their best.
But it turns out that those much older (and wiser) folks ended up teaching ME a few things about how to feel my best, and help others do the same. Some of those life lessons have stuck with me for years and I now want to share them with you.
5 life lessons that will help you (and them) live happier
1. Never assume:
Some of the residents in the nursing home smiled at me, and others cried a lot. You might assume the smiley ones had less depression and pain, while the crying folks were sad and depressed. But I learned to never assume.
Some of the smiley folks were just pushing harder while others were putting on a happy face. And some of the folks who were crying weren’t depressed at all, they were simply in great pain. You see, crying is sometimes the only way you can speak when your mouth can’t explain how bad something feels.
So always dig deeper and don’t assume you know something just from looking at its face value.
2. Send “love” in the mail:
I noticed that people who had friends or family visit them during the week required less medicine (and lower doses) than those residents who spent every day alone. But the same was true for folks who got “care packages” from their loved ones when they couldn’t always visit.
If you can’t be physically present, then mail something that shows you care and were thinking about them. I have often been miles apart from my children and elderly parents, but to this day I still send little gifts or cards in the mail reminding them that I love them even though we’re far apart.
3. Show respect and compassion:
Getting old isn’t for the weak. As we age we begin to lose control of so many things in our life. It starts with a loss of independence like the ability to drive or live at home alone. Eventually vision, bladder function, the ability to walk and sometimes even your mind can begin to fade.
The next time an older person is “in your way,” walking too slowly, or taking too long to do something remember they were young once too. Just like you their future was spread out before them and they were excited about tomorrow. People used to ask for their advice, but now they are invisible, or worse being treated like a nuisance.
Always show respect and compassion for one day you will be in their shoes too.
4. Say yes:
Saying no to things and putting them off until another days is easy because there’s always tomorrow. Right?
Well after working in nursing homes and seeing older people, and gravely ill younger folks too I learned that life is short. The truth is you don’t have forever.
Stop waiting for a better time or before you know it 20 years will fly by. Say yes and do it. Live your life before your life is lived.
5. Little things make people happy:
It’s incredible how happy something so very small and easy to give—painting nails, an extra $5 spending cash, brushing hair or simply holding hands—could make someone.
Small gestures can mean the world to someone. Show up with love in your heart and even if you’re just sitting with someone to keep them company, do it with full attention. Stay home if you can’t visit a family or friend with a happy heart. They will know.
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Fitness, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more.
Read more from Suzy at suzyCohen.com
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