Working with older people

My name is Gabrielle and I am a second year social work student with the University of Leeds. I work with Moor Allerton Elderly Care as part of my practical learning experience and work with the staff and with members to provide an inclusive, fulfilling service.

My time here has not only enhanced my learning and work experience but I have found that working with older people as a younger person has given me a broader perspective on life.

Research shows that intergenerational contact is equally as beneficial to older people as it is to younger people. By working with people of different ages, attitudes are changed and more positive perceptions can be made.

As a younger person working with older people, I had anxieties about being made to feel immature and uneducated because of my age. This was not the case at all! The older people I worked with made me feel valued, taught me new skills – knitting for example – and taught me that we in fact share some of the same challenges in life. We are not so different.

Working with older people has opened my eyes to different experiences of life, the similarities and differences between my life and theirs, and has taught me to recognise older people as their own person with their own history of experiences.

Younger people can teach older people new skills and ways of looking at the world, and vice versa! I thank MAECare for giving me a positive outlook towards the contribution we can make to each other’s lives, regardless of differences in age.